CD Reviews



2 Skinnee J’s

Compare to: Beastie Boys, Kottonmouth Kings After the group’s first major label release, “Supermercado,” 2 Skinnee J’s began building a mountain of underground success with their catchy music and contrasting dueling vocals. But their anticipated second effort, “Volumizer,” shows hints of that dreaded sophomore jinx. Bands should improve with each album, but in the case of the J’s, “Volumizer” falls short of “Supermercado.” Though these New York natives do show definite improvement as musicians, they seem to have lost a bit of their energy, giving the feel that they were trying to impress critics and not in keeping their fun-loving fans happy. Many of the tracks on “Volumizer” tend to flow with the same tempo, leaving the album lacking in fast-paced songs. Only songs such as “Stockholm Love,” the album’s first single, and “Secret Frequency” fall into the category of quick-moving songs, but are slightly soured by the not-so-catchy vocals. Album’s best song is “Horn’s of Destruction,” a head-bobbing song with catchy lyrics and a darker feel. The vocal contrast between J. Guevara and Special J is very evident on this track as it is throughout the record. The biggest problem with the J’s is that they put out such a great first record. While “Volumizer” continues to prove that the 2 Skinnee J’s are one of a kind, it’s only natural to compare the band’s new album with older ones, which is what makes “Volumizer” fall a little flat. – Kyle Moss The messed up Albert Sounds


Compare to: Fountains of Wayne, The Get Up Kids, Weezer Though James Snyder, vocalist/guitarist for indie pop/rock band Weston, sings lyrics implying he hates or is at least entirely sick of rock’n’roll, the songs tell a different tale. Perhaps Snyder is merely tired of the homogenized “rock” commercial radio stations love to play, because “The Massed Albert Sounds” does indeed rock. Oh, it doesn’t quite throw kidney punches like the debut album by the latest carbon copy hardcore/aggro/heavy band does. There are no seven-string guitars used on this album. The instruments are not detuned three and a half steps. The songs are not straight ahead, MTV-friendly pop punk, nor could they be mistaken for Matchbox Twenty songs. Rob Thomas could never write lyrics or music as well as some of the tracks on “The Massed Albert Sounds.” Instead of sounding like what rock ‘n’ roll has become, Weston sounds like what it ought to be. Snyder appears to have an amazing record catalogue from which he draws inspiration. Sounds from the early `80s Minneapolis scene are with an emo flair throughout the album. The album opens with what is perhaps a nod to Kurt Cobain. “I have no words to start this song/ but I bet you’ll sing along,” Snyder sings on “I Just Quit Rock and Roll.” Hints of the sarcastic tone Cobain took toward some of his fans on songs like “In Bloom” are evident in the song – the track could even be viewed as a parallel to Cobain’s life. “One more thing before I quit/ wait I can’t remember it/ I bid you well, I oughta go, I’ve been failed by rock and roll,” Snyder finishes the song, screaming the last line in a Dave Grohl-ish howl. Weston evokes the Replacements in “To Some I’m Genius,” even though the song begins with a orchestral segue that sounds alarmingly like the opening chords of `N Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.” Snyder switches between songs about his dissatisfaction with the current state of rock and songs about girls. Alternative rocker Liz Phair is the focus of one of the songs, serving as Snyder’s dream girl. The pop star crush song formula has been done before, but Weston does it well. If the song doesn’t get Snyder a date with Phair, there are other songs that will cause many other girls to bang on his door. “I’ll throw a kiss at every star/ did you fall here to fix my heart?” Snyder sings in “You Haunt Me.” At the end of the record, Weston reprises “I Just Quit Rock and Roll,” revealing Snyder’s internal dilemma. “I hate most what I love best/ and this whole thing is such a mess/ I will not sell my soul,” he sings. There is nothing, however, to hate about this album – Snyder just better not quit rock ‘n’ roll. -Jon Dahlager