Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Griswalds- Beyond The Television Scream

In my considering of 2014, Monster Zero Records is certainly leading the way as far as having the most quality releases that represent the international punk rock community as a whole. This is vital in keeping the underground pop punk/punk rock scene alive and for this review I'll be telling you about release they did for a band who is a great representation of the UK's pulse. The Griswalds have been going since 1995, with nearly two decades in their existence and many releases. One unique fact in it all is that only one of those has been a full length album until now in the form of a new record I really like called, "Beyond The Television Scream".

The tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered on dates that time forgot over 2011 and 2012(according to liner notes, close enough!) by Pete Anti Sect at Zed One Studios. The cover, which is a very nicely shot photo of the guys appearing a bit menacing in a rarely used alleyway under Orpington Station was done by Alex Nuthink. She does good work! The eerie looking tv screen filled with static and song titles in addition to the remaining layout details were completed by Steve Legend and Pickle. Release occurred on April 1st by Monster Zero on LP. It is available digitally as well through iTunes

Moving on to sound! The Griswalds have always maintained a fantastically traditional 90's pop punk sound influenced by bands like Screeching Weasel and The Queers. Meaning it always has a predominant element of punk rock, with some nice touches of pop. As true pop punk should be! One thing I noticed immediately is this recording truly has the highest quality in sound I've ever heard them have, and that rules as a compliment to their immense progression as a band since 2005's "Fall In Line". Things start out with "Orpington '95", which is a song that was written in the very early days of The Griswalds as a dedication to their hometown and nod to The Ramones "Durango 95". Cool instrumental with plenty of punch to lead you into the rest of the record. You'll find a nice balance of themes in the 14 tracks. Reference to horror is found in songs like "The Dice Man", based around the Luke Rhinehart cult classic, and "Final Destination". "Long Haul" and one of my personal favorites, "This Mess Of Emptiness" exhibit the ups and downs of romance. Then there's the funner tracks to even things out like "Do The Zit" that brings their lovable mascot Zit Face to mind and yes, that's Joe Queer you're hearing passing the torch along in the intro of "I Was A High School Psychopath Part 3". Very cool song! I also am really fond of "Outside The Radar", a true anthem of dedication to playing three chord punk rock and not changing that to please anyone. These guys have the right idea! Side B ends with "I Heard The Sound Of My Brain Melting", that has a psychological thriller feel in it's well written lyrics by Nuthink

Overall this is purely a solid record that's easy to get into and I recommend it to all fans of punk rock and the influences I mentioned. This pressing is limited to just 250 so make sure to pick it up soon from Monster Zero. I also did see that some copies are on their way to the Eccentric Pop distro here in America. The Griswalds will be playing the summer edition of the Monster Zero Mash coming up this July in Bergamo, Italy along with some amazing bands like Tough, The Mugwumps, The Nuts, The Apers, and The Manges just to name a few on the roster for two incredible days so make it there if you can! If you've got an ocean separating you from the action like myself, stay tuned to their facebook page for highlights and upcoming news cause this band isn't planning on losing momentum anytime soon!

The Griswalds are...
Ben Nuthink- Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on all tracks except 5 and 10
Steve Legend- Guitars, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals on tracks 5, 10, and 13 
Daz Reject- Drums, Backing Vocals

Amelia Garage Sale- Keyboards on tracks 6 and 11

Songs 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 14 written by Ben Nuthink 
Songs 1, 4, and 11 written by Steve Legend

Side A
1. Orpington '95
2. She Went Away
3. The Dice Man
4. Final Destination 
5. Do The Zit 
6. Kissing And Television
7. High School Psychopath Pt. 3 
8. The Telephone Rings
Side B
9. This Mess Of Emptiness
10. I Don't Wanna Go To The Hospital
11. Long Haul
12. Escape From Alcatraz 
13. Outside The Radar 
14. I Heard The Sound Of My Brain Melting 

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