Friday, May 31, 2013

CD REVIEW: Playtime Revenue “Revolving…” (Turn of the Century)

Playtime RevenueRevolving…” (Turn of the Century)
Name Your Price Download / $8 for CD / $15 for CD and t-shirt / Also available as a 6 pack from Turn of the Century Records, which includes five cassette tapes that will have reviews posted soon enough

            When I first heard Fallout Boy, I got their advance CD from a press person.   I was doing NCA at the time, and I knew a lot more press people back then than I do now (Which is not a bad thing because press people can sometimes only lead to sorrow), but this one particular publicist who was handling the first album for Fallout Boy was one of my favorite press people.  It was so hard to tell her how much I just could not listen to that album, yet most everything else she ever sent me was near life-changing.   What perhaps frustrated me even more so was that I didn’t despise all pop punk—I’m not one of those guys.  I like the edge of New Found Glory.  I like Yellowcard.  You know, I do like pop punk bands, but I could just never get into Fallout Boy. 

            What this all has to do with Playtime Revenue is really quite simple.   There is something about a band like Fallout Boy or Yellowcard (Whether you want me to use a band I like or not as an example here, it matters not) that makes them a pop punk band and it is that pop quality.  Both Fallout Boy and Yellowcard have had a fair amount of success because it’s almost as if they have subliminal messaging in their music where it attracts kids of a certain age that will beg their parents for the money to go to the shows, buy the overpriced merch, etc.   In the way that Austin Powers has his mojo, it truly is as if these bands (And there are more of them out there, I just tend not to think about them if I can help it) have this pop quality that is either something you have or you don’t.

            And Playtime Revenue doesn’t have it.    Sure, if you want to be the next Fallout Boy that could be a bad thing, but I could very easily believe a story where someone at a major record label refuses to sign Playtime Revenue because they don’t have that “pop” quality that Fallout Boy does.   And for that, I can only see Playtime Revenue as not being as annoying or unbearable as a band like Fallout Boy.  (Yes, while I do enjoy Yellowcard, for instance, I can understand what people do not like about them) 

            So if you take out that annoying quality that’s going to make pre-teen girls want to dye their hair, then what are you left with?   You’re actually left with quite a brilliant album.   Musically, Playtime Revenue comes out sounding somewhere between the fast paced punk leaning toward hardcore of No Use For a Name to one of my favorite comparisons, The Movielife.   Although, it’s not just The Movielife because before we reach the end of this album I can even hear the I Am the Avalanche coming out.   This musical style, catchy enough to sing along but not over the top enough to be ear poison, is accompanied by vocals that can sound like the singers from those bands or also like one of my personal favorites, Ronnie from Falling In Reverse. 

            Throughout these eight songs, a story is being told about being down and out.   A story is being told about not knowing what to do with your life and just problems that it seems more and more like everyone goes through at some point in their life if not for their entire lives.    By “Concrete Planet”, we slow down into an acoustic ballad, which just has some really honest and raw lyrics.   I know I already said that this band isn’t really pop punk, but I could see some lines from that song being some emo kid’s Facebook status.  (And no, I will not Google that to see if it has ever happened, thanks)

            Our seventh song, “Alright”, just flat out declares that the singer will be, well, all right.   Though there is another song before the album concludes, it does leave you with a certain amount of hope, which I do enjoy.   It’s not like a whiny album where they just seem to cry the whole time.  It really seems to tell a story about a particular hardship that someone else might go through as well, but the eventual positive outcome is also shown.   You have to think of it, in terms of movies, being more like “127 Hours” than “Into the Wild”.   

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