Reviews The Tim Version Ordinary Life

The Tim Version

Ordinary Life

The Tim Version’s set at Fest 12 was slower. The songs were drawn out—still loud, and angry—but they were a notch slower, going for expansive and big instead of that 1-2 punch. Was that to be the style on their next album, or was it just the hangover influencing their set list?

Ordinary Life is their second LP on No Idea and it took six years since Decline of the Southern Gentleman. A lot changes with the passing of time, but opener “For the Birds” shows the band at their strength, with vocalist Russ Van Cleave’s ripping vocals that culminate in big “nothing’s gonne die*” calls. Follow-up “Hello, Waterface” follows in similar style. The tempo varies a bit, showing subtle influences from a more general rock ‘n’ roll sense, with those big pummeling punk rock choruses and vocals shouts. It’s a standout in its ability to mix traditional rock with shout-out punk that’s perfect for the “I’m damn near the end of everything” refrain.

The Tim Version are a band long built on a varied base. They’re not afraid to take it country for a minute or to drop a pop-esque Replacements-style jam in the midst of those throatshredders, and that hasn’t changed; it’s only gotten better. The transitions within the songs are smoother and the unique Tim Version stamp is more evident. The band isn’t mimicking their heroes, they’re utilizing influence to create punk band with some very clear influences from well outside of that world. It makes them unique in a sea of mohawks and middle fingers and it also bears evidence of their home geography, with both urban and rural influence. There are songs about politics and people and fishing, and none feel out of place.

The tempo on Ordinary Life is definitely a step back from the harsh ferocity on Southern Gentleman, but it’s well suited in their overall discography and offers some of those ragers alongside the more laid back elements like “Holidays and Birfdays.” It struggles, however, with sequencing, and the tempo changes sometimes lose the momentum. The country ballads alternate in the latter half, slowing the overall pace of the record and giving a more relaxed feel that plods when it could be plowing. With 12 songs in 43 minutes, it feels longer than it should, and that isn’t a reflection of the songwriting as much as it is the record’s arrangement. Side A is a perfect blend of beautiful reflection and angry vitriol, but Side B’s lamentation doesn’t mirror the same consistency. The “punker” songs like “Men of Compromise” and “Fish Oar Die,” are just as rough and tumble as anything at the start, but it’s just not as consistent. “The 7-minute “The Future of Humanity Is Dogs” in the middle really changes the album’s feel. While The Tim Version deliver a solid record here, it loses its way a little, remaining good, but it doesn’t fully deliver on the promise it starts with on those first two songs.

*At least I think that’s what they’re saying.

7.8 / 10Loren
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7.8 / 10

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