Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Man the Change - 'Weather the Storm'

Listening to Weather the Storm by Man the Change is like playing a game of “Spot the Influence.” The Brooklyn, N.Y. band plays Fat Wreck-style punk, and that’s all nifty, but listening to the tracks just makes me want to put on something like Lifetime or NOFX. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and Weather the Storm is a solid debut, but right now the band is stuck in the realm of the adequate.

Consider opener “The Horseshit Zone.” The song starts off like an Explosion track – super fast and aggressive. It’s a set-up for a massively catchy outro in which the band chants “This is our time” over a cut time beat. It works, but the whole time I kept thinking, “This is exactly like something Dr. Dan Yemin would do. I’m gonna go spin Paradise.” Follow-up “Bowser’s Breakdown” is more in the NOFX vein – snotty, snarled yells and crunchy guitar ride galloping drums. “Useless” and “Get Me the Clippers” is more in the Flatiners style – a little more intricate in the guitar work, with a more propulsive beat.

Still, there’s something to be said for the band’s formula. Man the Change has a firm grip on breakdowns, gang vox and whoas. In fact, the group even utilizes an impressive dual-vocal attack on tracks like “Put Stevie at Second” and “Bowser’s Breakdown.” Man the Change has clearly demonstrated a mastery of the classics, and perhaps in time they’ll write a record that equals or rivals their influences. But as of right now, the parts do not equal the whole, and Weather the Storm is superfluous.

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