Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Recess Gone Rong-3-song Demo

February 1, 2006

Band Name: Recess Gone Rong

Album Name: 3-song Demo

Best Element: Intra-instrument chemistry
Genre: Pop-punk

Label Name: n/a

Band E-mail:

I used to be a huge fan of pop-punk. Back when I was first getting into independent music, that was the easiest stuff to find on so naturally, I snapped it up like candy. I still have dozens of tracks by pop-punk bands that went nowhere on my computer. I still listen to them, too- some out of nostalgia, some cause they were actually good.

That’s why I listen to every pop-punk release that comes through Independent Clauses. Yeah, 9 times out of 10 pop-punk bands will amount to negative points on the talent scale, but for each of those 9, there is a tenth. This time, that tenth happens to be Recess Gone Rong.

Now, ignoring the fact that they committed a cardinal sin in my book by misspelling their name (the only band in the world that can get away with this in my book is 5th Projekt, cause they’re Canadian and they play post-rock), RGR has actually cultivated a sound that gives me hope for them. Opener “I Can Feel” is a straight-up pop-punker, but for some reason, it doesn’t suck. The band isn’t herky-jerky, the lead guitarist actually sounds like he fits over the chords, the drummer can stay in time and switch up beats (hallelujah), and for once, there’s actually a bit of bite in the vocals. Yes, attitude- in a pop-punk band. I know it’s tough to believe- and they drop it in the chorus, which is a seriously infectious “whoa-oh” singalong- but for a couple of seconds in the verses, there’s a bit of venom in the vocals. That can definitely be expanded outward as their sound grows. I’d love to see that, actually.

“Through Today” and “Endless Story” are both minor-keyed songs, and while they are good, they aren’t near as polished as “I Can Feel”. The band’s chemistry never falters, but the chemistry just isn’t strong enough to save both songs from cliché vocal performances and sub-par songwriting. These two songs feel insipid instead of inspired. Even though the bassist offers up some great bass work on “Through Today”, his contributions are not enough to save the song. The vocalist needs to sing in his lower range, because it sounds good there. The high range sounds cliché and annoying.

RGR (I can’t bring myself to write out the name anymore) have a couple strikes against them and a lot for them. First off, they need to change their name, pronto. It sucks. Secondly, they need to grow- they’re a very young band, and it shows. Third, they’re going to have to work hard to get noticed in a genre that has been overpopulated and often mocked.

But the members of the band work extremely well together- the intense chemistry is notable for a band this young, and as a result, the sound flows. They also can write good melodies, which is all important in the hooky musical world we’re in right now. Those two characteristics give me a lot of reason to believe that with a couple more years experience, RGR could be on to something good here.

-Stephen Carradini

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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