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Friday, March 7, 2008

Chester Copperpot - Poems & Short Stories

Name: Chester Copperpot
Album: Poems & Short Stories
Year: 1996
Style: Pop-Punk
Similar Bands: Weezer, Ash
"One-Word" Review: 1-D-whiny-teen-pop-punk
Based Out Of: Sweden
Label: Dolores Records, MD
Poems & Short Stories - Cover & Back
Poems & Short Stories - Inside & CD

Poems & Short Stories (1996)
  1. Strawberries 2:04
  2. How It Ends 4:02
  3. Jinxter 1:50
  4. Apathy #6 2:14
  5. Full of Lard 3:40
  6. Guitar Solo 1:26
  7. Weekend In Bore 1:37
  8. Lyrical Gangsta 2:01
  9. Out Of Tune 3:25
  10. Greatest Luxury 1:21
  11. Derome 2:29
  12. Wonderful Poem 3:04
Album Rating (1-10):
6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Fredrik Karlsson - Guitars & Vox
Christian Sjogreen - Drums, Percussion, Some Backing Vox
Niklas Alden - Bass & Backing Vocals
Paul - Synthesizers
Gorm - Cover Art
James Holm - Photos
Morgan Windle - Back Photo
Sam - Drawing
Fredrik Nordstrom - Recorded, Mixed, Produced, Some Arrangement, Hand Claps
Pieter Verdoes - Recorded, Mixed, Produced, Some Arrangement
Patrik Hellgren - Recorded, Mixed, Produced, Some Arrangement

Unknown-ness: I did not know this band at all when I bought it. I'm Assuming the name Chester Copperpot comes from the explorer who died years before the Goonies searched for their riches. And that was all it took for me to buy the album. Now, I did like the sparse album artwork, particularly the instrument drawing that I now attribute to Jazz artwork. I know that the place where I bought the album (Siren Records) had listening booths, so I can only assume I did this. But I do not recall what they sound like at all. As for what I assumed they sounded like, I was probably hoping for some kind of pop-punk that picked up obscure movie trivia and applied it to their name. I do not recall if I knew they were from Sweden, or if that had an effect on my purchase. Looking at it now, I am guessing that they were a simple indie band from Sweden, probably influenced by the Beatles, and probably very literal, since the album is called 'Poems and Short Stories.'


Album Review: Well, I was much more correct with my first guess than my newly assumed educated guess. They are a pop-punk teen band. Fuzz guitars begin "Strawberries" and the tempo and style is La-La-La pop-punk: Crashing cymbals, and three chord guitars. The vocals are that of a nasally, slightly whiny teen-angst. "How it ends" begins with a buzzing warbling guitar and Weezer style vocals. In fact it sounds just like Weezer. Even double vocal layering the last few words in each line to create harmony. It has good build, but not great delivery in the chorus, and the ending instrumental section is set off with a moog synthesized hook. "Jinxter" is more Oh-Oh-Oh pop-punk, like the first track. The vocals are mixed very loudly, and demand all the attention. Apathy #6 is a driving pop-punk song, just as dirty as the songs that precede it, but this is by far, the cachiest song yet. They take great care of spacing out the musical breaks, letting the vocals fill the holes, as well as singling out instruments to push to the front of the musical scene, like the bass at one point on this song. The end is an exhausted release of relief from the singer. "Full of Lard" takes a little break by starting slower in the beginning, as sort of a wavering ocean-bobbing song. The whiny, nasally vocals are quite obvious by now. At some points, it is nearly emo. There is a silent pause about 1:45 into the song, and it picks up again with the same melody and verse. And just as it is about to end, a chorus of voices in the backgorund pick up the melody with Ooh-Oohs. "Guitar Solo" is in fact, a vocalless display of guitar talents, where the guitar loops around a very catchy melody (aided by hand-clap styled drumming), which replaces the need for vocals. "Weekend In Bore" starts out as a planned, unpolished minimal song, with one guitar carrying the melody, along with a steady drum. After 37 seconds, the hi-fi comes in, and the song converts to a normally produced tune. The distortion of the guitar mimics Weezer's usage of loud, metal guitars. But the song lacks the creativity and diversity present in the best Weezer songs. "Lyrical Gangsta" sounds no different; where the name would seem to denote some sort of difference in song style, there is none. Still a poppy, catchy fuzzed out song, it is just more of the same recipe without deviation. "Out Of Tune" possesses an angsty, "I Can't Take This" theme. The problem is that the sentiment seems undeserved. The guitar solo at the end sounds like it could be from a Weezer album. "Greatest Luxury" starts out with a mid-tempo, catchy melody, but by now, I've become tired of the whinyness in the vocals. They seem over-pursued, and forced. But the bass and guitar in the very short song are quite good. "Derome" is typical pop-punk from start to finish. "Wonderful Poem" is a slower anthem, with a chorus of voices just repeating over and over again "this is a wonderful poem." I guess if they say it enough some people may believe it. Behind the chanting, is Rivers Cuomo style screaming of 'yeah-heah.'

The album oozes the hypocritical mantra of teen pop-punk attitude: that feeling of being owed, but in reality, not having any real experiences or reasons to back it up. The album fulfills the crying wolf syndrome that many kids who use it young carry into adulthood, and never learn differently, thus never grow up. That said, it is not a bad album. It fills the need to retreat into being young again perfectly. The pop hooks are simple, but ever-lasting, and although this album could have never been made by 25+ adults, it still holds a place in memory, and shows a great array of abilities to grow.

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