Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

August 12, 2012

FallsStart ~ Our Summer (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt rock, punk
Label: self-released
Year: 2012
Home: Honolulu, Hawaii

Members: Davey Leatherwood ~ vocals/rhythm guitar/violin
Adrian Cottmeyer ~ lead guitar
Jason Seuis ~ drums

For some strange reason it's rare when I encounter a band from Hawaii. Perhaps the sun & surf distracts too much from being stuck in a windowless rehearsal space for hours on end. FallsStart advertise themselves as a punk band, but songs like "Happy Song" or the title track seem to be sucking up the positive vibes of the environment more than rebelling against it ... as one expects, or at least I do, when hearing the punk label thrown out, calling up the angry world of the Clash & Sex Pistols. Though, one might properly say that punk is all about rebellion. It's not about music, it's about perspective. Too many punk bands are wandering through thoughts of morbidity, broken hearts, teenage angst & a lot of other problems that are more daydreams than actual material woe. FallsStart have, all with a background in the U.S. Air Force, seen more of the horrors of the world than most their age ever will & probably made all of the above emotions more real than imagined. Not to be crass, but I can imagine they've spent more time considering their morbidity & how to stay alive & enjoy life, than contemplating rebellious suicide over a broken heart caused by the girl next door. So, the pleasures of life become that much more valued & thus it makes sense to sing of happiness not woe. So, one can say, they're rebelling against the norm of their musical peers, thus, in essence, they are a punk band, even if musically I believe not so much beyond chunky rhythms. FallsStart chunks out chords that just provide a foundation for the story-telling lyrics, with guitar breaks few or lost under the wall of rhythm, sadly losing their power. The album starts off a bit average for my tastes, straight ahead pop-punk rock that doesn't have any strong direction or feel. Then, the third track, "Carnivale", drops a surprise with little tinkling little guitar bubbles & a fun ska backbeat before jumping into a punk rhythm with backing vocals. From here the band weaves between straight-forward bland & letting loose individual. It's almost as if they have accidentally hemmed themselves in with a particular genre which is causing sparks but no fire ... or they've let the autonomy of their military time affect the individuality of their music. Essentially, the problem is a wall of distorted guitars. The proof is in a couple videos on youtube of acoustic versions of the songs. I would highly recommend watching these to get a full picture of the band, plus they are candid, low-key & fun. Not just does this acoustic setting let a classical feeling come through, as cited in their press release, but it also allows the intricate guitar parts to be heard. Lead guitarist Cottmeyer has some very interesting little figures, almost with a prog-rock feeling, but the distorted studio recordings aren't allowing enough space for these to come through. I certainly would love to see more of his fingerwork which balances well his bandmates strumming & singing. My recommendation is to let it hang out & not worry about sounding like what is on the chart or making sure a bridge follows a verse or any of the traditional restrictions. Jam a bit. FallsStart was created when the two guitarists met while stationed on active duty in South Korea, the drummer was already touring in the military band. Cottmeyer remains on active duty. Not that this is that vital to the music. You won't find songs about America or patriotism here. You won't even find the aggression of war. The punks are rebelling against a society that seems to be focused on talking about world aggression & not enough about enjoying life.

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