Spraynard – Exton Square

© 2012 Asianman Records
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

So I can’t say that I’m terribly familiar with West Chester PA’s Spraynard. In fact, this is the first that I’ve actually listened to them. That said, I’m rather enjoying the catchy pop/punk styling and the infectious nature of the four tracks on their brand new EP, Exton Square.

If I had to group this release up, I’d say that it carries a heavy amount of influence from past Asianman peers. It strikes me as a combo of Lawrence Arms and Shortround. On a perhaps less apparent comparison, the vocals make me think of Flashlight Brown. Or maybe my wires are crossed and they sound like something else (as well as themselves) but either way, I like it.

As with most pop/punk, the songs are mid to upper tempo. The vocals are lilting, the guitar and bass saturated and the drums are big without being enormous. As noted, the tracks have pep, but there is a minor slow down on the track “Intents and Purposes”. While noticeably slower, it doesn’t kill the whole “vibe” of the release. Granted this, being an EP, only has a smattering of tracks for reference, but if these are resplendent of Spraynard as a whole, I dare say they have a new fan.

–Jerry Actually

Animo – Blood in the Water

(c)2008 Animo Music

Rating: ★★★★☆

animo-blood-in-the-water I saw these guys at Warped Tour last year and thought they were a perfect fit.  They’ve got a high energy live act and were adored by the throngs of screaming girls in the audience. While giving Blood in the Water a first listen, I browsed other review sites to see what was being said…sigh.

I fully believe MC Lars when he tells us that “Hot Topic is not punk rock,” but there’s no need to slam the kids who like the music they promote, or the bands who capitalize on the sound.  Animo perfectly capture the summer fest’s style, and  Blood in the Water is a very decent, albeit short, album.  While I agree with the general web consensus that these guys don’t fit the classic definition of punk, they’re poster children for pop-punk. Their songs are amazingly catchy, their lyrics don’t drag into the total emo-therapy downturn that lesser Warped acts have.  They’ve got a brilliant drummer, great guitar hooks, slappy bass support, and amazing vocals.  Radio pop-punk isn’t disrespectful to the pioneers of the 70’s, it’s a natural progression supported by America’s youth who are bound to adore Animo.

-HK-47

Flashlight Brown

Flashlight Brown – Blue(c) 2006 Hollywood RecordsFlashlight Brown , refreshingly, defies the pigeon-holeing that I am often reduced to. Are they punk? Are they rock? Are they 4th wave ska? Are they a secret government laboratory band from outer space? Hell if I know. I do know this though, they make me want to pogo like a mofo. The songs are catchy both musically and lyrically. Though there is a bit a static pattern throughout the tracks, ala verse chorus verse, but because the tracks average out to around the 3 minute mark or less, I don't find myself becomeing bored. I guess if I had to try to compare their sound to anything it would be a melange of 7 seconds Goldfinger and perhaps Sum 41. Flashlight Brown will be playing on the warped tour this summer as well as quite a few independent dates prior go check 'em out. What have you got to lose? You're problably going to the Warped Tour anyway. To break it on down. Flashlight Brown is catchy poppy and fun. However, perhaps a bit indulgent if you're too damn hardcore that you can't admit to singing along with Weezer songs.