Usually when I see the name J. Robbins, I audibly gasp. Not always. I don’t freak out when someone posts “J. Robbins wears pants” and then go, “I wear pants too! Yes!” But when it comes to the musics, there’s gasping a-foot. Dude did time in Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels, and Government Issue. He produced Against Me!, the Promise Ring, Discount, and [insert seminal punk band here]. If he asked me to run away with him to
Homoerotic fantasies aside, I respek the heck out of the guy. He’s a good songwriter, and I dig his production skills as well. He’s cleaner than a lot of underground guys, but he doesn’t put too much gloss on songs either. So when I perused the liner notes to Hammer No More the Fingers’ Looking For Bruce, I had a fanboygasm. OMGs flowed like so much milk and honey from the Promised Land.
Then I put the record on. Joy of joys, it thoroughly did not suck. Turns out this three-piece from
Lyrically, the band isn’t too revolutionary. The music is more compelling for its sound that in its emotional depth. “Mushrooms” isn’t particularly great as a drug narrative – “Give them water / Give them fertilizer / Give them love / Just don’t give them to your kids” – but it’s fun enough. Other tunes, like the
The record is definitely frontloaded with the hits, as there is a noticeable downturn after the first five tracks. Still, Looking For Bruce’s back half is solid. Taken as a whole, the record is a pleasing collection ’90s college rock. Hey, if it’s cool with Robbins, it’s cool with me.