Bomb the Music Industry! – Adults!!!: Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing!!!!!!!
I’ve not reviewed Bomb the Music Industry! on NFI before, although I did reckon last year’s Scrambles was the second best album of the year. That aside, it feels difficult to review a band that you’re so outrageously fond of without just spewing hot, exciting love all over the place. But! The idea behind Adults!!! (surely wins most ludicrous title of the year if nothing else) is that it was recorded in five days, so here is a short review that I wrote in five minutes. It would probably be more in keeping with the spirit of the record if I spent five hours on this review but I don’t have the patience for such an outrageously pointless conceit.
So! First up, Adults!!! is more ska-centric than either Scrambles or 2007′s Get Warmer. It opens up with ‘You Still Believe In Me’, which could almost be an Arrogant Sons of Bitches (Jeff Rosenstock’s old ska-punk band) song, driven as it is by brass, rolling drums, and simple hooky chords. Right after that you have the faster-paced ‘Planning My Death’ ska-punk tune which is characteristically tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted but dark: ” I’ve been planning my death ’cause I wanna have a really good death. I want heroism, mystery and courage.”
Lyrically the entire EP reads like is a snapshot of where Jeff is at in his life right now: “I used to be an awesome listener. But now I just drift in and out or get pulled away by beats and measures like I don’ t have a choice but failure and running from a brighter future.” And: “I’m rebuilding myself. Oh, I gotta have a way better self.” BTMI lyrics have always been honest and upfront about failures and troubles as well as what excites Jeff, what he loves and cares about. That honesty is a big part about why the band feel so special; that, and anyone who fucks up a lot and is self-deprecating will probably find something that resonates with them.
My favourite song on here is ‘Slumlord’, which is kinda like this EP’s ‘Fresh Attitude, Young Body’, despite not sounding much like that song. It’s more low-key than the rest of the EP, true, but it doesn’t have any keys and does have some bitchin’ steel pedal guitar and organ/keys. It’s a more upbeat song than those that preceded it as well, a musical fuck-you to slum landlords.
Shit, my five minutes is up. Err so of the other songs I haven’t really mentioned yet, ‘All Ages Shows’ is a slow and mournful song about life feeling a bit empty and playing music live not delivering it might, which concludes ambivalently but faintly upbeat. A lot of the songs on here engage with Jeff’s apparent disillusionment with playing music and his dissatisfaction with his life. ‘Big Ending’ is, ironically, 26 seconds of fuzzy keys that doesn’t come at the end of the album. ‘The First Time I Met Sanawon’ has rad keys in its intro and is another slice of upbeat ska-punk tuneage about tour fatigue (“These days, we’re both getting old. And while you’re buying a house, I’m losing sight of my goals.”). ‘Struggler’ returns to similar thematic lyrical territory as the rest of the album, covering insecurity about making music and playing to people, marrying that to minimalistic verses with a cute, cheesy melody which build up to to powerful choruses that demonstrate the contradiction at the heart of this EP: the heart-rending scream “I’m not gonna change / I wish that I could change” is juxtaposed with the tongue-in-cheek “I don’t wanna go outside, because I might have a terrible day and get sent home”.
You can download Adults!!! for free from Quote Unquote Records (link is below) as well as a tonne of other awesome records, including all of BTMI!’s past output. I also recommend checking out The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Kudrow, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, We Versus the Shark, the Riot Before… oh, just go explore, and throw QU some dollar in you like their music. Smart!!! And Excited By Something!!!