Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cassette Review: Uncle Bengine and the Restraining Orders "Demo Vol. 1" (Funny/Not Funny Records)

[$5 // Edition of 25 //]

When I first put this cassette on, I began listening to it and simply let it go.   It was around 10:30 in the morning and as such it took me into the early afternoon.    These demos by Uncle Bengine and the Restraining Orders are large in number and cover about ninety minutes in total time.   Had I known that going in, I might have felt intimidated and left this one for a later day.   But since I didn't realize that until it was already too late, it helped to make the time go by like nothing.    Though now I'm giving you the facts beforehand, so that might not seem like the best way to go about this but deal with it.

The first few songs on here have the sound of folk (acoustic guitar + vocals) or even folk punk.   There are violins in the background as well and I'm thinking of an acoustic version of Yellowcard.   It's twangy and then he explains that he was born in 1983 and grew up on Mtv (The song is also called "Mtv") so perhaps I'm just relating to this a little bit too much because I was born just three years before him.

Group vocals- complete with rounds- come out and there are also full band, electric songs.    It's somewhere between The Replacements and Cheap Trick at first, but then there are those Wallflowers notes.    Some Neil Young comes out before we pick up the pace for what I can only describe as Brit punk.    Distorted guitars ring in reverb filled waves to end Side A.

On Side B, the first song reminds me of Rolling Stones.   Then we go back to the country alt-rock, which also brings out some elements of Spoon and The Beatles.  (How vague of me, right?)   The choruses become sing-alongs and then it turns into a garage sort of sound with some Atom and His Package blended in.    The song "Mtv" does come back in a variation, as do other songs as well.

What you have to understand about this cassette is that it is a collection of songs from 2010-2015, so it covers a five year span.   I'd go mainstream and throw out a name like Bruce Springsteen or Elton John, but think of this cassette as being like some established artist such as Pearl Jam or Local H who has spent years building up albums and hits and then has a live concert.   When you see a live band with one or two albums you kind of know what to expect.   But when you have a band with ten albums under their belt- ten solid albums- you never know where they'll pull songs from.

And this doesn't necessarily have that feel of being ten albums in one, it just has that feeling of being an artist going through their greatest hits in some ways, a collection of songs pulled from various albums throughout the years.   I guess when I think of demos and the such I always go back to Nirvana's "With the Lights Out" or that acoustic Sublime CD and this isn't really like either of them as it's more like a discography.

Do you remember when they used to make those CDs that would come with books about artists and they'd have a collection of the artist's hit songs on the CDs?   They made them for groups like Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Spice Girls probably.   But I feel like this is a sampling of Uncle Bengine and the Restraining Orders in that same sense.   It just needs a book.    Also, can we call the backup band the "Temporary Restraining Orders" so I can just call this Uncle Bengine and the TROs?

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