Thursday, July 2, 2009

No Connection - 'Second to None'

In this economy, New York pop-punkers No Connection understand the value of the dollar, delivering seven songs on as many inches of wax on Second to None. While the title proves misleading (Lemuria and The Measure [SA] both pack better lyrics ‘n’ hooks, and do I even need to invoke Discount’s name?), Second to None is still a promising collection of catchy cultural critiques.

How deep those critiques go, though, fluctuates. Opener “Stemmie” is supposed to be an argument for stem cell research according to the liner notes, but listeners can plug in any “us vs. them” angle they choose. But while lines like “This agenda we are fighting / we are fighting for our lives” don’t really stir much, they’re still packed with the tried and true pop-punk touchstone, the “whoa.”

There’s no mistaking the content of “Hell for You,” though. Frontwoman Barb Object tears into a child molester for acting on and trying to hide his twisted desires, and her disgust is violent and palpable.

As for the music, it’s standard pop-punk stuff. A little loose and not too over-polished, it’ll more or less get listeners where they want to go. At the same time, though, the EP loses momentum as it goes on. Second to None could have easily shed its back half and been a stellar four-track collection. But then we wouldn’t have gotten second side song “Sexwerk,” which defends prostitution without rejecting or glorifying it. It also offers the best line of the seven-inch: “Respect is more than money / A vagina is more than leverage.”

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