Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Cassette Review: Means Well "Don't Dream" (Self Aware Records)
[Recently I placed an order with Sorry State Records for the new Whatever Brains LP. I found some cassettes at low prices and decided to throw them into my order as well. Initially, I had a total of ten cassettes in my shopping cart but two of them were out of stock and so I was given a refund and only actually sent eight cassettes by Sorry State Records. Since most of these are from years ago but I don't really want to think of them as "classic" reviews yet, I am simply going to think of them as the Hateful 8 Cassette Reviews in honor of the new Quentin Tarantino movie. This is review number 2 of 8 in The Hateful 8 Cassette Reviews.]
[$1.50 from Sorry State Records // $3.99 from Self Aware Records // http://www.sorrystaterecords.com/collections/demos/products/means-well-demo-cassette // http://selfawarerecords.storenvy.com/products/1833185-means-well-dont-dream-cs-w-digital-download // https://meanswell.bandcamp.com/]
Well, as with Gouge Away this seems to be the only piece of music on the Means Well Bandcamp page and yet it is also from 2013 somehow. It is still available from both Self Aware Records (which the Means Well Bandcamp page also directs you to, as they don't sell it themselves) and then Sorry State Records which is where I got it. So at least this time around the label still has a copy of the cassette.
Means Well combines a lot of rock influences from the likes of Weezer and Piebald with the crunchy guitar chords to the more punk side of rock with that Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music feel. It's something from the era of Jade Tree back when I did actually like them. It's not emo, but it's something that got grouped in with emo back when emo was most popular. There are also two vocalists and you can hear them sing at the same time or take turns, so when one song has a different vocalist in it I was beginning to wonder if this was a new band but, yeah, it's just a Blink 182 type of thing I suppose.
As you get to the end of the songs you'll hear a crushing number which reminds me of old Shades Apart and by the final song, "Beep", you will also hear female vocals added in for good effect. In some ways the music on here might seem cliche as if someone wrote a step-by-step guide on how to create a band of this nature (melodic rock?) but if there is such a thing it cannot be taught and Means Well just demonstrates that raw talent which has me really digging this cassette. Strange, too, how different it is from Gouge Away and yet still so fitting with my cassette collection.