Monday, July 07, 2008

Review: Beat Union - Disconnected

Label: Science Records

Released: April 22, 2008

Pop punk today is a lot like new wave was almost three decades ago. A few great artists, Elvis Costello, for example, managed to both establish and transcend the genre and in their wake, literally thousands of bands tried to follow. Some, like the Cars, wrote some outstanding songs and broke the strict limits of the genre. Others, like say the Knack, were just knock offs who would play the flavor of the month regardless of what it happened to be. So it is with pop punk as well and Beat Union is among the thousands who are following the likes of NOFX and Weezer.

Now, at this point, I often feel like I'd rather gouge my eyes with a hot poker than listen to the next pop punk contrivance to come down the pike. Beat Union, however, find themselves among pop punk's Cars rather than its Knacks. Disconnected offers up eleven tracks of punk that's so catchy, you'll wonder how they did it. True, there's a thousand bands that sound almost the same, but Beat Union are such masters of the pop hook that it's hard to even put your finger on just what makes them special. In the end, it's really the subtle differences, a note going up instead of down or a stutter in the rhythm, that sets them apart. Interestingly, they frequently channel early Elvis Costello and perhaps it is the lessons they learned from him that give them that sixth sense.

Beat Union doesn't quite transcend their pop-punk and neo-new wave pigeonhole, but they come close at times. That makes them a pretty good listen for even those most skeptical of pop punk's sad addiction to formula. They do stick to the book for the most part, but it's where they deviate that makes them special in a sea of normalcy.

Satriani: 6/10
Zappa: 6/10
Dylan: 8/10
Aretha: 6/10
Overall: 7/10


If you're curious about my rating categories, read the description.

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