COMPOSITION SPLIT LP (2003)
Composition CDs have been all the rage lately - i.e. WOW Series, Smash-Ups, etc. - and riding on the heels of other highly successful compilations, DUG Records has managed to shine a light on two relatively unknown bands: Last Tuesday and the Curbsquirrels. This DUG Composition record displays two bands deep in their faith and their Christian-punk-ska rock, or as those at the label call it, "hope rock."
Appearing on their second full-length album (even if they are only half the disk), Last Tuesday already has the comings of a mature band, and their sound conjures up images of Less Than Jake. The first track, "This Time Around," is short but sweet. Anyone who has doubted if God knows what He is doing and believed He has left them will identify with this song. "I am moving on tonight / and I don't know just what we're gunna do / Just need to know I'm not alone."
The highlight of the entire CD is "Social Butterfly." "Last night you gave yourself away / ...and you wish that / you could get it back now / full refund / full exchange now." So many people, girls especially, are longing for the notion that someone understands that everyone makes mistakes, and this song addresses that. It even goes as far as reminding them that they should "be rest assured / there's hope that loves in spite of."
The second half is chock full of even more punkish songs by The Curbsquirrels. Rhyming has become an essential aspect of a song, but the track "Cindy" doesn't quite use the rhyming; instead, it uses anecdotes that many teens can relate to and therefore draws in the listener. While the story is a superior one, the fact that no lines rhyme can be a tad unnerving, and the whole "poor me," or in this case "poor her," mentality is annoying—not just in this song, but in numerous punk and rock songs. We hear about how her parents fight and her dog runs away, and it all culminates with the line "so she sadly takes the blame on herself / and weeps all night." Why can't just one song deal with someone who leads a happy life or leave the saddened individual with a resolution that doesn't contain guilt or self-pity, but rather a feeling of completeness?
All of the tracks by Curbsquirrels sound like something Relient K would release, and their sound is a carbon copy of the famous Relient K sound. The corny humor runs throughout, especially in "OIC." This is one of those songs that sounds like it was written in five minutes just to finish off a disc. It does have good points, however: 'Pretty without Godly / is ugly / so ugly / and a girl's heart means / a lot more than her looks." But even that single truthful line cannot save this song, and I still don't get how the title is intertwined at all.
DUG Records has itself a stand-out band that has a future ahead of them. They are a gem in the rough, and the rough could be classified as the other band signed to the label. However, there is still a chance for the Curbsquirrels to redeem themselves if they are willing to jump the corny ship and leave that style of music to their predecessors and find their own true genre of music. Musically, both bands have what it takes, but only one leaves you with the longing for more, and it is a true example of punk 'n' roll.
Last Tuesday's official site.
Curbsquirrels' official site.
DUG Records' official site.