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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chalkie - Down To One

Name: Chalkie
Album: Down to One
Year: 2006
Style: emo-punk
Similar Bands: Zebrahead, Social Distortion, Hagfish
"One-Word" Review: 00's-Shout-punk
Based Out Of: Santa Ana, Ca
Label: Long Live Crime Records
Down to One - Cover, Back, CD
Down to One - Liner Notes
Down to One (2006)
  1. Cold 1:43
  2. Everything's On 2:58
  3. Heart Pumping Tar 2:05
  4. Oh Cupid 3:15
  5. Curbside Catherine 3:11
  6. Jerk 3:33
  7. Soul 3:05
  8. Valeria 2:54
  9. Habitual Days 2:09
  10. Rut 2:19
  11. Smoke & Mirrors 4:05
Album Rating (1-10):

Members & Other Bands:
Jason Rusnak - Vox, Guitar, Writer (Bleach Astrology)
Robert Arce - Drums
Amos Cook - Bass, Vox
Jeff Forrest - Recording
Steve Zing - Remixed
Steve Falco - Remixed
Lisa Fendelander - Piano
John Golden - Mastering
Ragnar - Design

Unknown-ness: This was another part of the CD mail package. I've never heard of these guys. The artwork has an underground, beatnik, swing revival feel to it, with its cartoon gangster, stylized criminal imagery and polka dots. It feels like a retro cartoon. When looking them up for links, I read that they are pop-punk, which does not seem to fit their design all too well.

Album Review: “Cold” is the first song, It starts with a fast loud blast of guitar energy & emo-punk shouting. “Everything’s OK” continues the fast paced emo song, complete with screaming double-layered vocals in the background. It is a little more melodic, similar to Social Distortion punk than “Cold” was. I barely recognized a transition into “Heart Pumping Tar” the vocals sound forced, and off key, and the song has standard quick chord changes making it a shout-punk song. “Oh Cupio” starts off as more pop-punk. It chugs along, broken up with melodic guitar chorus sections. Yet it is still cringe-worthy emo. “Curbside Catherine” starts out like a quality pop-punk song. The vocals are relaxed and smooth, and lend themselves to a much more snotty, yet listenable sound. The secondary shout vocals appear unnecessarily in the background. “Jerk” begins with barely a pause to catch breath. The strong guitar chords are an entertaining jerky rollercoaster of note changing. I am enjoying this song, but am waiting for the secondary shout vocals to come into the background, but they never do, and it shows they have self-restriction, where they could have easily implemented the filler vocals. “Soul” sounds like the same song, except in the chorus, where they use the supporting cast vocals to emphasize the lyrical point. It is not all over the place, in a bad way, as “Jerk” was. “Valeria” begins with switching gears in guitar sound. But the song falters to find a catchy melodic verse as good as the guitar suggests. It is bouncy, but not enough to be memorable or stick out. “Habitual Days” runs fast musically and crashes into shouting lyrics, with anthemic cheers behind in the chorus. There is a nice musical breakdown right before the song picks speed back up to finish itself out. “Rut” is back to basic fast played punk. But the chours is a catchy oasis in the middle of a fast grinding noise desert. “Smoke and Mirrors” is the slow thoughtful song on the album. A high school slow dance ballad, with sections of smashing pumpkin guitar jams and emo vocals intermixed. Very emo, and pretty lame to these ears.

Stand-Out Track:

Chalkie - website
Chalkie - Myspace
Chalkie - Allmusic
Bleach Astrology - website

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