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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Co-Ed - Sometimes Always, Maybe Never

Name: Co-Ed
Album: Sometimes Always, Maybe Never
Year: 1998
Style: Pop-Punk
Similar Bands: Greenday, Veruca Salt, Blink 182, Juliana Hatfield, Hagfish, Jane Anchor
"One-Word" Review: Girly-Poppy-Punk
Based Out Of: California
Label: Cool Guy Records, 

SAMN - Cover & Back

SAMN - Inside

SAMN - Record
Sometimes Always, Maybe Never (1998)
  1. My Escape 3:10 (sample)
  2. From Afar 2:06 (sample)
  3. X-Files Addict 3:31 (sample)
  4. Unlucky 2:37 (sample)
  5. For You 1:36 (sample)
  6. Aware 2:19 (sample)
  7. If I Ran the Zoo 2:53 (sample)
  8. Rub 1:40 (sample) /
  9. Progress 2:34 (sample)
  10. Always 3:11 (sample)
  11. Vacationing 1:41 (sample)
  12. 5th Level Thinking 3:04 (sample)
  13. A Satirical Dedication 2:25 (sample)
  14. Grounded 3:44 (sample)
  15. Postscript 2:00 (sample)
  16. accoustic bonus track 2:08
Album Rating (1-10):
9.0

Members & Other Bands:
Mac Thmopson - Guitars & Vox, Production Asst.
Kathy Cagigas - Vox
Waleed Rashidi - Drums, Additional Guitars & Bass (Revolution Mother, Jr. Juggernaut)
Jeff Hancock - Bass
"E" - Produeced & Mixed
Paul Miner - Produeced & Mixed
Charlie Watts - Mastered
Jeff Caudill - Artistic Assembly
Jason Lee - Band Members Photos

Unknown-ness: Never heard of these guys. I found the record at a thrift store, and had to match the record up with the sleeve because they were in different places. But I liked the white vinyl, and the home movie quality of the photographs. I imagined this to be some sort of smarty pants indie band.

Album Review: The guitars that begin "My Escape" are very much like Blink-182's pop-punk style. But those fall off quickly, and the sound becomes a Greenday-like wall of sound. Fast chord changes, and down-scale Aye-yeayee-yeayee's end phrases. The music is like that of a good cheesesteak or a White Castle burger: it has one complete taste. You cannot divide out the individual ingredients that make the meals; they all form one great taste. The sound from Co-Ed is like that. Sure, you can pick out the drums, the guitars and bass, but together they create one stream of sound. "My Escape" is a classically structured pop-punk song. As is "From Afar" which utilizes a double layered, call and response female chorus, and a male-female layered verse. But the ingenious aspect is that even over top of the male-female verse, a stronger female lead is layered still. And the song itself is catchy as hell, propelled by the guitar hooks & bouncy bass. "X-Files Addict" begins with an audio clip of Mulder & Scully. Unfortunately, this song dates the record, but it is still a strong pop-punk song, structured like a top 40 radio hit. Many bands try for the pop-punk recipe, and many times, the bands fall to either side...it is hard to find such a well-balanced middle ground as Co-Ed displays on this record. Blistering paced music, and fast drumming thrust the songs forward, but both the happy sound that comes out of the guitars and Kathy's voice are cheerful, catchy and non-threatening like a pop song should be. But still, the sound comes out as one element, and perhaps that is a compliment to the production department. Even if the style and subject material are dated, the sound is timelessly enjoyable. "Unlucky" starts off like a Ned's Atomic Dustbin song. It maintains the pace, but features middle sections that slow down, only returning for a quick delivery. "For You" and most of these are songs that you could hear being played more angrily by bands like Rancid and NoFX, but Co-Ed proves there is no need for that extra aggression if it is not genuine. "Aware" is another song that could be a Greenday number from start to finish. The song has some nice pace changes that makes it feel like a roller coaster. "If I Ran the Zoo" starts off slow with three notes on guitar and bass, picks up a hair, and then breaks through the wall like the Kool-Aid man, with its driving force. "Rub" takes advantage of the guy and girl vocals paired up to give depth and dimension to the song. This sounds like a Goldfinger song, but the guy's vocals are similar to Billie Joe from Greenday.

"Progress" starts side 2, and the chugging guitars and catchy music reminds me now of Hagfish. Especially the breakdown toward the end, with vocals paced by a drum, and launching back into the music before a quick ending. "Always" starts with a minute and a half of studio recording a silly cover of G N' R's patience. It would seem that the singer did not know she was being recorded, but they decided to keep it for the album anyway. Because it is silly and playful, and adds a nonchalant, care-free element to the band's repertoire. The song then begins with another rolling, driving wall of sound, the singing is more choppy than before, but still catchy as it follows the melody. "Vacationing" follows it up: another short song, but full of sing-song energy. "Fifth Level Thinking" is the dark track on the album, with deeper vocals and guitar...at least until the upbeat chorus hits, which is happy pop-punk. But overall, the song does have a dark tone. "A Saterical Dedication" is sung with male leads, and again, we are treated to the whiny Green Day-like voice. But the song is the most sinisterly metal song on the album. And there are female vocals in the background. "Grounded" is their ballad, which sounds more like Juliana Hatfield (and Jane Anchor) than any punk song. The sound is not as thick, and there are male call back vocals in support of the lead. The drums and bass are slower (but they are not slow). The chorus is emotionally heightened, but it stays in pop ballad control. The energy picks back up in the Blink-182 ish "Postscript." Alternating driving and start/stopping guitars guide the song. Finally there is a bonus acoustic track to end the record. It took me a while to figure this was a bonus, unlisted track, because I had the song numbering and lengths all mixed up. But the song illustrates the lighter, demo side of the band; the Unplugged version if you will. It just feels like it is going to take off at any moment, but it is acoustic all the way through. I'm sure this is an acoustic version of one of their songs that they usually play loud, perhaps from a different record.

The album is really a lot of fun, easy to listen to, and very enjoyable. It is the best combined elements of pop and punk, and great example of that style. Her voice is equally capable of singing and cruising over the fast changes in a punk melody.

Stand Out Track:From Afar

Links:
Co-Ed - allmusic
Co-Ed - amazon.com.
Co-Ed - CD Universe
Co-Ed Interview: aversion
Jr. Juggernaut - Myspace
Jr Juggernaut - Co-Ed mentioned
Waleed Rashidi's web page
Waleed Rashidi Interview
Co-Ed Blog article
Co-Ed on Last FM
Full YOUTUBE Album

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