CHINESE TEL(EP)HONES - Chinese Telephones (CD)
Chinese Telephones is the soundtrack to a sweaty house-party basement show in Any town, USA. It's got the get-up-and-go of a youth anthem fight song for the fist-pumpers, the pogo power for the pop punkers, the heartache in the slowdown for the heartsick, and the undeniable catchiness in the hooks that brings it all together for everyone to come together, sweat together and hug it out in the pit. As is usually the case with the best bands playing punk rock these days, the music played by Chinese Telephones is hard to nail down to any one style or genre. The guitar work these guys put out is all killer! The rhythms are thick and chunky, and the leads and fills are super clean. Daniel James really knows his shit – quite a few of the tracks on Chinese Telephones have guitar leads and fills from start to finish. That alone takes a lot of skill to pull off, but the fact that it never gets stale takes some serious talent! Like the rhythm guitar, the bass lines are big and beefy. And like Daniel James, Ray Suburbia knows his way around the block on his bass. The backbeat for the whole enchilada is laid out by Gorky on drums. The energy and enthusiasm of his drum work set the pulse high for the heart attack on its way. Justin's lead vocals are filled with power and passion. When someone really makes the most of what he's got it comes through as more than just sound - it's felt as much as it's heard. Ray Suburbia is joined by Jeff Burke of the Marked Men for much of the backing vocals, all of which are right on-time and in just the right amount. The lyrics are the biggest mystery with this band. Justin's dead-set against printing any lyrics of his from here on out. Some friends of the band say it's because he doesn't actually have words for parts of the songs so he just grumbles some nonsense. As funny as that would be, it's not true. Listen long and hard and you'll make out the message your gut and your chest already figured out on first listen. Besides, nothing makes you wanna sing along more than when you don't know a single word. The Riverdales knew it, the Marked Men knew it, and now Chinese Telephones know it.