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Various - Playing 4 Square II (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Playing 4 Square IIPlaying 4 Square II (2002)
Suburban Home Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: HeinHein
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Volume I was one of my favorite comps for a very long time. You have to know I'm always in search of fastpaced melodic punkrock and I'm sure most of you will have noticed that Fat Wreck Chords is my absolute number one label to fill those needs. But these Fat bands are all very well known of course..
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Volume I was one of my favorite comps for a very long time. You have to know I'm always in search of fastpaced melodic punkrock and I'm sure most of you will have noticed that Fat Wreck Chords is my absolute number one label to fill those needs. But these Fat bands are all very well known of course. That's what makes comps like these so magnificent; it's the perfect resource to discover new bands that are on the rise in this compartment. And you can bet some of them will become popular one day. The first comp had 4 blocks of bands from the same label, while on this one they appear mixed, although they always follow the same pattern of labels: Suburban Home and Drive-Thru (who were also part of volume I) and newcomers Fueled By Ramen and Polyvinyl. Polyvinyl was the unknown label to me while I'm pretty familiar with the others thanks to this website. Let's go through the input from the different labels one at a time:

1. Suburban Home
The Gamits are one of my recent favorites with their fast poppy tunes.
The Fairlanes deliver one of their more held-back songs as far as I know them with a few outbursts in the chorus but an over-all emo-approach.
Contender is actually on Negative Progression (distributed by Suburban) and I urge you to check out this band if you like Thrice with a poppier twist.
Counterfit has a high dosage of that modern emo (you know, with the hooks included).
Saturday Supercade (on Liberation records) is more of that catchy poppunk very reminiscent to Midtown, but with an additional synth-sound.
Discount (on New American Dream) broke up quite a while ago, but this girl's voice still is one of the best out there ever, in combination with the sticky guitars

2. Drive-Thru
Allister is top poppunk again. This has just somewhat inferior quality since it's a demo version.
Finch must be the loudest band on Drive-Thru with pounding drumsection and guitars that mix fast and slow parts as if it was meant to be? One of the best song compositions on this comp.
Home Grown. I only know this band from their album "That's Business" on Burning Heart with that unbelievable funny song "Get A Job". But man, did they change! At least with this one. Catchy guitars a la Blink 182 only played so much faster and even the vocals sound similar. Really unexpected to me!
The Movielife with their best song ever for me. And if I tell you this is one of my fav bands in the fast poppunk genre, this means this song is just fabulous. I love this guy's voice.
The Starting Line is next. I'm really anxious to hear if this band can deliver some equally high-quality emo-poppunk with their full-length that is to be released any day now? One of the bands I'm expecting very much from.
Rx Bandits adds some ska-touch with horns to their rocking sound. I love these party-tunes that remind me a lot of reel Big Fish, but slightly faster.

3. Fueled By Ramen
Recover is actually somewhat like Contender and Thrice, with the screaming and melodic vocals nicely mixed.
The Stereo is usually sounding more conventional than with this song. Here they manage to deliver some energy thanks to tight guitarplay. One of their best songs indeed. Vocals are impeccable as usual.
The Impossibles is smooth yet brutal in the chorus. One of those highly underestimated bands I think.
Cadillac Blindside's driving hard song appeared on both releases that were on FBR. More gruffy vocals than most of the bands on this comp, but maybe the most sincere and emotion-charged sounding of them all. Too bad this brand broke up recently.
Blueline Medic has the softest of starts, but this song is building up to a great touching chorus and the drive is continued until the end.
Whippersnapper somewhat disappointed me with their latest release on FBR and that has everything to do with the mediocre vocals, illustrated in this better song of them. Just nothing out of the ordinary.

4. Polyvinyl
The Ivory Coast reminded me of the Cure, although the chorus definately has more power. A piano-sounding synth is creating somewhat mysterious tension. Pretty good, especially near the end of the song when all systems get going. A little bit too spun-out maybe though.
Paris, Texas has more power, guitar magic and an amazing bass-line. Pretty complicated songstrucutre with OK vocals and a piano-synth here as well. Good.
Mates Of State has a weird song. Galopping xylophone-alike synth bridges that could have been used for a children's TV program, male/female choir-alike vocals. It's pretty amusing and not sounding bad, although I couldn't imagine listening to this all through an entire album.
Rainer Maria is mainly focusing on good female vocals, the music is boring.
Sunday's Best could have been on Vagrant Records. The Get Up Kids is what comes to mind, although it has somewhat of a more rocking build-up further on in the song.
Aloha is not the best choice for a finishing song if you ask me. Some mayhem sound coming from electronic instruments and vocals that don't fit. I guess this is too sophisticated for the simple person I am.

I agree that there's comps like this in abundance lately, but I'm sure that's just a consequence of the "supply and demand" principle. I can assure you that this one is very interesting if you like poppunk to be catchy and fast, good vocals and mindsticking songs loaded with emotion. If you're looking for hard shit or soft emo let this one go past you, but if someone asks me what music I like these days, I can easily hand them this comp.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (August 2, 2002)

This is why I joke. Because stupid people like you will take me seriously and provide me with something to do in my long day at work. God i love punknews.org.... keep it up guys!-pat41

A-Season-of-Shrubs (August 2, 2002)

indeed

Anonymous (August 2, 2002)

Pat 41, you and I both know you just said it was a joke so you didn't sound like the pussybitch I know you are. Go whine elseware, and try not to be a loser anymore. fuck man fuck.

Anonymous (August 1, 2002)

Right down the middle. I figure since I already bought in and thats un-punk I might as well sell out because thats even more un-punk. And hey maybe mypop-punk band will hit it big and I can be bashed on punknews.org!-pat41

adam (July 31, 2002)

So you're saying you broke even?

Anonymous (July 31, 2002)

Shit I mean why not. Of course I bought in. Fuck while Im at it I sold out too. -pat41

adam (July 31, 2002)

"He bought in"? What? Shit, Pat did you buy in? Where can I get some? I got out of this with no more money then what I started with....

Anonymous (July 31, 2002)

bought in? what the hell are you talking about. Or did you not understand that this was all a big joke... some people confuse me. -pat41

Anonymous (July 31, 2002)

pat41 is a whiny bitch for not continuing to support his viewing. He bought in, just like everyone. LOSER

adam (July 30, 2002)

Hahaha :) I didn't expect that response Pat, waita stop this dumb argument before we all get TOO serious :)

waste_elite (July 30, 2002)

nofx is good

Anonymous (July 30, 2002)

Alright, thank you both. Shindo and Hein. You guys rock. Made my day. I am sorry I had to bash your review today Hein. It really isnt as bad as I made it out to be. you didnt have to run off and find out my "real identity" though. I have been REALLY bored this week at work so far and needed to have a little fun. Hein you provided hours. I am done now. This is why I love punknews.org because whenever you need to really strech yourself to have fun while confined to a cubicle you can always come here and run your mouth. I actually picked this comp up and its really good. I like most of the songs. While I stick to my guns about the review needing a little work I have to say that this whole comment board has become a joke between me and the kid in the cubicle next to me... who hasnt actually bothered to contribute anything. Oh well. I hope you all have enjoyed your time here as much as I have. Thank you and good night!-pat41

adam (July 30, 2002)

Holy shit I didn't take a look at the comments here until today.

Pat41, calm the fuck down. You've made your point, now you're just starting to sound ridiculous. In your last few posts youâ??ve not only decided youâ??re qualified enough to dictate lessons in reviewing, but you also start to ramble off your own definitions of musical genre and have ceased making rational arguments.

So you didnâ??t like Heinâ??s review? GOOD. This website is completely driven by the submissions of our readers, thatâ??s why both Heins AND your reviews get posted, not because we feel they pass some benchmark of greatness. We believe you both have something relevant to say. When you decide that youâ??re personal style of reviewing is so far superior to whatâ??s posted here, so much that youâ??re lecturing us on it, then you fail to understand the way this site works.

This review may not be the best-written one weâ??ve ever posted, but neither are any of yours. If youâ??re so concerned that everything meets â??Patâ??s seal of approvalâ? then go start your own site that's entirely closed to submissions. Until then, relax and spare us your condescending, better-than-thou whining.

hein (July 30, 2002)

You know what Mr. Pat? I finally discovered your true identity. Have a look at it right here and go bitch some more at the little kiddies that are visiting that site while you're at it. Maybe they find it interesting.

Man, you almost had me there. You delivered your parcel at the wrong address.

End of discussion.

Anonymous (July 30, 2002)

Oh my, did I hurt your feeling Mr. Hein... oh boo fucking hoo. You know what I have been doing "voicing my opinion". So its ok for me to do that. "Go submit your own reviews" I have and will continue to do so (go check out Sum 41 "All Killer No Filler", Dropkick Murphys "Tha Gangs All here", The Promise Ring "Very Emergency" and Dropkick Murphys Live in Boston St Patricks Day)... maybe you should "look it up, its not that hard". My example may not be any better at explaining the kind of band they are but at least people can relate to the "DriveThru style pop punk" that I mentioned. Maybe you have never heard of this band called NOFX but they have their own style of pop-punk... and dont anybody dare tell me that they arent pop-punk now or I will shoot you. Ever hear of Dillinger Four.. yea they are pop-punk too... a different kind of pop punk than NOFX and the Movielife. I apologize for hurting your feelings man... I hope I didnt demotivate you to write anymore reviews or to stop making your stupid worthless website... oh wait yes I do.-pat41

hein (July 30, 2002)

You make me laugh: "Pop-punk with catchy lyrics, fast guitars and drum beats to match." Damned, that I didn't come up with this incredible original and revealing way of describing how a band sounds. This must be the most used sentence EVER to describe a pop-punk band. What in hell is this telling MORE than just saying a "fast poppunk band"? Submit your own reviews if that's what you think you're good at OK?

I don't mind too much when people attack me like this. I get enough credits from other people who DO like what I'm doing. But did you ever think about all those other people who really put in a lot of work and love to write a review? Ever thought about the possibility people like this getting demotivated by people like you? Please stop your insulting comments. Just give an opinion on the album, not on the review. What's the use of that? It's not like a poetry-competition now is it? I'm not doing this for lifting my ego, I just want to share my thoughts with other people OK?

Anonymous (July 30, 2002)

Oh yea and by the way... How hard is this (since I used the movie life as an example before I will continue):

The Movielife contribute "Hand Grenade" quite possibly my favorite out of all of the Movielife's tracks. It's your typical Drive Thru pop-punk with catchy lyrics, fast guitars and drum beats to match.

Reviewing is not tremendously hard. If you are smart enough to know what you are doing. There was also no REAL need to review every song. You could have just reviewd the highlights (thats when you opinion comes in). No one really needs to know what all 20 some odd songs sound like. If they like what you consider the highlights of this album then they will buy the album. That way you could take up a little more space on a few songs and still not bore your reader half to death. Just a few suggestions...

(P.S. the Movielife song is on like every compilation you could ever thing of... that must be their official compilation song... except for the Atticus comp which has "Walking on Glass" [Hand Grenade Jr.])-pat41

Anonymous (July 30, 2002)

For Mr. Hein who seems to think that he is the end all of intelect and importance with his website that I have never heard of,
I do not think that "faster pop-punk" is a good explanation of what a band sounds like. How many times per day does someoe on this site bitch about all these pop-punk bands like NFG, Good Charlotte (Who are probably the only pop-punk band who doesnt deserve at least some of the shit they get), Sum 41, and all the rest? So saying its faster pop-punk isnt really explaining much. Is it NFG style pop-punk, sum 41 style pop-punk, Good Charlotte style pop-punk... what the hell is faster pop-punk. Yea I seem like I am making way too much of a deal about and that I am labeling a little too much it but the way I look at it is people read a review to find out about a band or album. People dont read a review to hear that it is the reviewers favorite song by the band that that the reviewer cant wait to hear their next album. People read a review to hear about the music. And as for your "go and look it up" comment... isnt this considered looking it up. Punknews.org is a punk reference site for me and many others so if we have a question on a band or anything we would check punknews.org as well as the band website. I consider reading a review "looking it up". Now whos the moron... moron.-pat41

hein (July 29, 2002)

Dammit, you people are sooo difficult. Yes, this review was posted on my own website punkupdates.com and shoot me...I list the tracks over there and they're not listed here, so that's why I didn't name the Movielife song. (BTW: it's called Hand Grenade). You could have looked it up though, it's not that hard. And correct me if I'm terribly wrong, but wasn't that about the only song that I reviewed where I didn't say how it actually sounded? I just thought most of you would know how this band sounds, now didn't you? And is "fast poppunk" not telling quite enough? Don't know who the MORON is here. Dammit, I get soo angry with these people. Maybe you expected me to spend 15 lines with every song? I wonder who would still be reading it till the end.

Anonymous (July 29, 2002)

Here is quite possibly the best (and most obvious) advice I have ever given to a reviewer... when reviewing instead of saying "The Movielife. For me this is my favorite Movielife Song..." Say The Movielife contributed this song it is definitley one of my favorites it sounds like....This example doesnt just go for the movielife it goes for all of the bands... I dont care that you cant wait to see what the starting line could do on their upcoming full length (frankly I couldnt care less about the starting line but thats beside the point) I want to hear about what the song soudns like. and most importantly THE NAME OF THE FUCKING SONG YOU MORON!-pat41

Anonymous (July 27, 2002)

this comp lacked things that make a great come (pretty damn good songs) this comp was pretty lame, and i still fucking hate drive thru

Anonymous (July 27, 2002)

how come all the stuff i like on this album(well, not EVERYTHING, but almost) HEIN seems to dislike? While I'm hate(mostly dislike) everything he likes? Fuck man, fuck

adam (July 27, 2002)

Yeah, a few of us syndicate our reviews on different sites. As long as the original author is credited / giving permission, it dosent matter. My reviews are usually on PunkUpdates as well...

Anonymous (July 26, 2002)

Good for him. That doesn't make my statement any less true or valid.

maverick (July 26, 2002)

It's "dufus," not "doofus," you shithead. =)

This comp's okay. Polyvinyl has the best bands on here [don't mess with Paris, TX].

-Scott

adam (July 26, 2002)

Hein, who submitted this review, runs PunkUpdates, doofus

Anonymous (July 26, 2002)

Whoops, it's on punkupdates.com. here

Anonymous (July 26, 2002)

Christ, this EXACT same review is on

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