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No Motiv: Diagram For HealingDiagram For Healing (2001)
Reviewer Rating: 4
I opened the package knowing exactly what to expect...the upcoming release from SoCal punk outfit No Motiv, and that's exactly what I got. I put in the cd not knowing at all what to expect...I've never seen these guys live, and I've only heard one or two tracks off of their debut album And The Sadness Prevails. I guess you could say my ears, for the most part, were No Motivirgins (yes, I'm entirely aware of how lame that joke really is, thanks). On paper, I'm impressed...words like 'melodically' and 'emotion' and 'heart splitting lyrics' and 'the' peppered the press release...they've played with some of my favorite bands (Face to Face, Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids and Good Riddance to name a few)...Trever Keith produced the album (Mr. Keith is of Face To Face fame)...they can't suck, right? I put the cd in and I listened. And I listened. And I listened. And a week later, I'm still listening. These guys are the opposite of communism! They look good on paper AND they are good in actuality!
From start to finish No Motiv has managed to put together one hell of an album. Guitars blazing. Drums crashing. Bass pulsating. Voices high. Mmmmmm...SoCal. They have anthems, they have heart breakers, they have advice-laden pick-me-ups. The lyrics perform a nice balancing act by not being too simple and too complicated; thusly, the songs never get too lowbrow or too highbrow for their own good. Jeremy Palaszewski (guitar, lead vocals), Pat Pedraza (drums), Max McDonald (guitar, backing vocals) and Roger Camero (bass) has crafted an album that is very easy to listen to and, at times, has you asking 'Are you sure this is punk?'. That might be blamed on the fact that neither Jeremy nor Max cough out the lyrics in unintelligible spurts, nor do they scream pointlessly...they sing, and quite well. While there exists an unfair stereotype that singers in punk bands can't really sing, these two are doing their parts to try and dispel such myths. The other reason you might be asking 'are you sure this is punk?' is that some of the songs drop any pretense of being anything other than an emo styled song...and that's OKAY...there's nothing wrong with being, or sounding, emo, remember?
Starting off Diagram For Healing is Celebrate, and, as all good opening tracks should, it smacks you around and makes you listen with its upbeat sound and infectious chorus. Are you in a dead-end, go nowhere relationship? Do you know someone that is? If you answered yes to either questions, please purchase this cd and go directly to Throw In The Towel...it's a 'kick him/her to the curb' song if ever I've heard one. Broken And Burned is a prime example of Jeremy's singing abilities and those heart splitting lyrics we've heard so much about...oddly, it's one of my favorites (yeah, who's shocked?). Get A Life...not only is it a good song...it's a good idea too! My newest theme song is definitely Going Numb...it pretty much sums up how I felt way back in the day when I was really part of the medicated masses. Savior is ultra tasty and has Trever Keith written all over it (not that I'm bitching about that, though)...mix yummy bass line with too true lyrics and throw in some of that hip SoCal flavoring and you've got you a yummy little number. It's not all tea and biscuits, though....To The Roots and So Long are okay the first few times through, but begin to get a little grating after a while.
I probably never would have heard these guys if not for the kindness of strangers...and for that kindness, I am forever grateful. No Motiv is definitely a band worth checking out, and they have proven themselves more than worthy of helping Vagrant push themselves as a leader in the punk scene. Look for No Motiv and other Vagrant artists on the upcoming Van's Warped Tour and the Vagrant Across America tour.
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