Artist: Back Pocket Memory
Album: Back Pocket Memory
Genre: Rock, Alternative
Let’s just get it out of the way; Back Pocket Memory’s self titled EP lacks any addictive qualities. Therefore, instead of going on a 500 word rant ripping it apart, I’m going to use this review as a teaching tool for all bands. Get out your pen and paper kids.
There are certain steps that need to be followed in order to gather the exposure needed as a band to garnish a glowing and positive album review. For starters, the album you are asking a complete stranger to review needs to be either interesting or attention seeking. Now, I am neither new to music nor an idiot. Therefore, I fully understand the irrationality of asking every musician to insure that every album ever released be fresh and original. From Bach to Bachman Turner Overdrive every angle has been covered. Like urban sprawl, every inch of usable creativity has been consumed and copyrighted by someone else. Therefore it is hard to fault any band for sounding like a carbon copy of another. Yet, I would be lying if I didn’t point out that this epidemic has resulted in an extremely disinteresting movement in music. With record labels formatting cookie cutter formulas for success, bands are just kicked off the production line to place albums on the shelves and fill the airwaves with replaceable trash-pop singles. Music isn’t nearly in the renaissance period that it once was. Hell, it hasn’t been for a long time.
So logically, no one should be shocked by my decision to refer to Back Pocket Memory as adequate. Honestly, that’s the best I can do. Their self titled cut, which contains five shoe-shined tracks, is a perfect example of the simplification of music.
No. Stop! Wait! Read it again. I didn’t say their music was simple. I said the simplification of music. Let me explain in detail what I mean.
Think of the music industry as an overgrown field. Tall grass has reached lengths as tall as your eyes and weeds and bushes have overtaken everything. Everything is consumed. On one side of the field is mom’s basement. That’s where a band starts. One the other side rests gold records, radio play and porn stars wanting to do blow off your dick. To get there, the band has to figure out how to get through the bushes, thorns and shrubs. There only system for getting from point A to point B is by knocking that shit out of your way. It is hard not to respect any band that does so. However, thanks to Nickelback, Incubus and every other mullet rock band made popular by bros running trains on Gamma Girls, that once overgrown field is now trampled into a simple path. Bands simply walk where other bands have walked. Instead of having to spawn a movement, Back Pocket Memory simply has to mimic one already created.
If you don’t believe me spin the album yourself. During the album’s opening track “The Prisoner” Chris Pennington’s vocals reeks of Brandon Boyd karaoke session. However, the imitation falls flat due to the lack of punch Boyd often possess in his storytelling. The mundane lyrics of the song are both redundant and uninteresting. This is disheartening as the music placed behind Pennington could at times, by some, be considered both catchy and marketable. It seems wasted on such an ignorable plotline.
This holds true throughout the album. “Hide and Seek” finds quick, punchy guitar riffs lended to ineffective vocals. The builds never quite reach their max as Pennington never quite sells them as well as he should. The same could be said of “Catapult.” Nothing happening here is groundbreaking or Earth shattering. There is no buzz from the release. This above all is a waste of my time. An album should manage to hit a reviewer like a car wreck affects rush hour traffic. Regardless of schedule, safety or simple respect of others, you simply have to take a peek and the sideshow. It should leave you wondering and begging for more.
This release does nothing of the sort. There is nothing here to remember. Nothing to revisit. It is simply noise for noise’s sake.
There is no place in music for that in my humble opinion.
Review written by Joshua Hammond