September 4, 2008

CD Review: Sound and Fury - Sound and Fury

Take AC/DC and The Misfits (perhaps a little Sex Pistols and Ramones as well), punk rock and hard rock, add a dash of high school single mindedness, and plenty of teenage party hard attitude, throw it all in a blender and the result would probably be pretty close to Sound and Fury. This album just may be the most straight up party album I've listened to this year. In a genre that can, at times, take itself a touch too seriously (not that there's anything wrong with that), Sound and Fury reminds everyone that music does not have to be deadly serious, or politically relevant, or epic in scope, or anything more than a reason to get in the pit and throw around some limbs. Now, this is not to say that this is anything particularly great, but there is definitely something about this Ontario, Canada, act that grows on you, kind of like a fungus.

My first pass through Sound and Fury's self-titled album was not a particularly good one. As the opening chords of "School's Out" emanated from my speakers I thought for sure I wasn't going o care for it. There was something a bit too uncontrolled for my tastes. Things took a turn for the worse when the vocals, by Luke Metcalf, kicked in. His high and whiny voice just grates on my nerves and does not help the band win me over.

Now, one cannot write a review, or even get a good taste of a band upon a single listen (although, if it is bad enough it can make someone not want to bother). There was something about these guys that did beg for a second listen. And so I went, once more into the breach. This second listen was a bit more favorable, as some things began to stand out for me. I still didn't like Metcalf's voice, but some things will never change.

What began to soften my initial view was the infectious energy. I can see these guys tearing up a stage. The music has this raw appeal, almost like none of it is planned; they just picked up their instruments and out came this party-inspired combination punk and hard rock. Never were there any intentions to create anything important, just release some raging hormones. On that raw level, the music is quite good and perfectly suited for playing loud at a party or for that live setting.

The other thing that got my attention was the lyrics. When listening to some of them you just have to believe that something is a little off with these guys. From singing about being a drug supplier with a bad touch in "Bad Touch" to a girl with a 12-gauge in "Teenage Rampage" to partying in a hotbox in "High School Hotbox," these guys do not want for subtlety. This matter of fact approach just reinforces the party rock vibe.

To be sure, this is not a great album. It is all about the riffs and the vibe, with a couple of nice solos tossed in, but it is not particularly memorable. When you count them among their influences, I will always be more apt to grab AC/DC or The Ramones over Sound and Fury.

Bottomline. If you are looking for a party album, this should fit the bill. I could see myself revisiting this on occasion, but it is not going to be at the top of the list. The guitars are solid, but this will be relegated to the back shelf in short order.

Very Mildly Recommended.


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