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The Break / Let It Burn

split EP

Doghouse Records

How much do producers influence a recording? Well, here are two bands with only their New Jersey roots as a shared commonality standing side-by-side on a 6-song split EP. The other common denominator -- all six tracks were produced by Matt Squire, who worked on The Explosion's Sick of Modern Art EP.

Okay, okay, The Explosion had their rock-punk style long before Squire came along, so I gotta believe that some of The Explosion rubbed off on him, and conversely, has rubbed off on these two bands, at least on this recording.

The tip-off is the distinctive guitar and drum sound, and the rock-as-punk arrangements that anyone who digs The Explosion will quickly recognize.

In the end, however, this ain't no Explosion. These bands' frontmen don't even come close to Matt Hock's pissed-off presentation (although Burn's DJ Values comes closest). That piss-off-edness also is missing from the lyrics. The Break's songs are wordy and convoluted (and in the case of "Alone With You," downright tired), while Let It Burn tends to keep things simple, maybe too simple. Everyone struggles to make a point, which was never a problem for The Explosion.

In the end, Let It Burn wins in a comparison contest out of sheer exuberance and speed, while The Break sounds like someone is trying to punk-up Pearl Jam. What's missing from both is anger/concern/giving a shit about anything. Because, let's face it, who really cares if DJ Values "believes in love" and "the stars above," especially if those stars are shining over the Hollywood Hills. Get pissed off, boys, and you might give us something worth listening to.

back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted Sept. 23, 2003. Copyright 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Rating: No

Obligatory pull-quote: "What's missing from both is anger/concern/giving a shit about anything. "