This debut album by Sacramento, California duo MIDDLE CLASS RUT was actually released a week before I managed to get round to preparing this review ….. so I thought I’d cut corners and cheat a little by checking out other reviews.
I wish I hadn’t bothered now!
See – several other websites seem quite negative in their assessment. They point to the repetitiveness of sound over the fifty-three and a half minute (twelve track) duration of the album. Some are quite patronising in their opinion that this has all been done before, and others mention the unwavering screamed style of vocals employed, regardless of the subject matter, whether it be brutal or sensitive.
So, am I missing something? Or maybe I’m just a bit shallow in my musical expectations?
Yeah – I guess some of the points made by others have a ring of validity, and certainly what appears to be MIDDLE CLASS RUT’S ‘trademark’ sound becomes a little like chewing gum left on you bedpost at night, and loses some of its flavour when heard unbroken for such a prolonged period. But why look for detractions? Why not just enjoy the album for what it is – a rousing and yet melodic powerhouse of a long-player.
I actually really like ‘No Name No Color.’
Essentially, with just Sean Stockham (vocals / drums) and Zack Lopez (vocals / guitars) making the noise, it’s all about noisy guitar loops and crashing drums. Simple. But I disagree with the assertion that there is a lack of variation between the tracks.
For instance, at track six of twelve, we have ‘Are You On Your Way.’ This clocks in at six and a half minutes (all others reach around the four minute mark) and sees the pace and intensity pared back quite substantially. It reminds me of a sort of latter day Blink 182 ‘epic.’ This though, is immediately followed by ‘Alive Or Dead’ which races along, powered by a galloping drum beat, with the odd guitar twangs that altogether give it an oddly Country feel – albeit with more screamo type vocals. But I reckon it works.
‘I Guess You Could Say’ is again more mid-tempo, with dual / gang vocals and the threatening beats lightened a little by the integration of what sounds like occasional tinkles of mandolin. And of course there is the current (November 2010) single, ‘New Low’ that has a slight reggae feel with the vocals differing to anything else on the album and sounding a little like very early Sting.
In general, the remainder sounds in the same way as latter day Beastie Boys, certainly as far as the stomp and vocals go. But that’s no bad thing, is it?
No – I’m with this album, and while I agree it could maybe have been culled by about fifteen minutes or so, just to preserve the impact and interest, it’s certainly one I’ll play again and again.
Ignore any negative comments you may read. ‘No Name No Color,’ is well worth checking out.
(Released through Bright Antenna Records on 22nd November)