It's another vinyl-only release from The Measure [SA]. As a reviewer, I get an mp3 disc with a handwritten label instead of the art. I'll try not to hold that against them.
"Drunk by Noon" does exactly what a first song should do: it promises high energy, offers a sample of the band's melodic and lyrical approach, and gets me excited for more. Like many Measure songs, it uses a storytelling approach that's easily to relate to, yet not predictable. The follow-up, "Drama-Free Youth," offers more of the same with some alternating vocals courtesy of Fid. While Lauren Measure's vocals are what really distinguishes the band, the approach in this song works so well I have to ask why they don't try it more often.
As "Revisionist" gets going, the band begins to expand their sound with a heavier focus on the guitar and a more rock sound than the melodic, quirky pop-punk that is the band's signature. The heavier guitar continues with "Singles Series Number Zero," a Fid song with Lauren offering some pleasing "oohs" in support. The song has a clearly political stance and the memorable line, "We see acts of terrorism every single day." At record's end is "Practice Jam," perhaps the least enticing song name since Less Than Jake's "Soundcheck." The song proves better than the name implies, with a slow jam structure that gradually picks up to a normal Measure tempo, but it's a fairly standard b-side caliber song that doesn't stick out amongst the other tracks. Similarly, "How to Steal a Million" has a lo-fi feel and is pretty forgettable. It sounds like it may end side one on the vinyl, but that's not clear on my version.
The band takes sunny pop-punk and adds some cold weather grit and quirk to make it their own. There are shades of alternative rock and indie that you often don't see in the punk world, but the influence is subtle and distinguishing, rather than derivative and off-putting. The band has solidified their own style, but they continue to push boundaries. Holding it all together is Lauren Measure and her ability to articulate her vocals in such a narrative, yet melodic way. Lyrics this precise really shouldn't come across as catchy, but she almost always manages. Similarly, the lyrics walk the fine line between down to earth and highfalutin. The musical approach is relatively simple, but the band doesn't take the easy road and write the obvioustheir song titles rarely appear in the choruses and their concepts go beyond the black and white. I've now given The Measure [SA] quite a few preliminary listens and the band continues to grow on me. At their best, I love it, but they continue to be inconsistent throughout an entire release.