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Various - Punk Goes Acoustic (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Punk Goes AcousticPunk Goes Acoustic (2003)
Fearless Records

Reviewer Rating: 3


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

I remember reading an interview with Rivers Cuomo where he explained that his rule for song writing was to compose as much as possible on an acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar, he said, would force you to concentrate on the melody and the song structure and not cheat by hiding behind a wall of.
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I remember reading an interview with Rivers Cuomo where he explained that his rule for song writing was to compose as much as possible on an acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar, he said, would force you to concentrate on the melody and the song structure and not cheat by hiding behind a wall of distortion.

It seemed like good advice, and in one way, Fearless's Punk Goes Acoustic is a pretty sound litmus test of which bands can hold their own when stripped down to the bare essentials. Of course, punk bands from the Clash to Green Day to the Alkaline Trio have demonstrated a mastery of minimal acoustic song writing, but the question is whether this crop of bands can pull it off.

There were a couple of easy bets; Thursday's acoustic reimagining of their beautiful "A Hole in The World" channels Thom Yorke but loses none of the wonderful atmosphere of the original. Likewise, there was no doubt in my mind that Open Hand would handle an acoustic song gracefully, their spacious, ringing sound well-suited to this kind of presentation.

Up in the air, in my mind, were Rise Against and Coalesce. Don't get me wrong, I love Rise Against's fiery melodic hardcore, and Coalesce's too-smart-for-you metal, but I had my doubts that they would be able to work without their layered sounds. Coalesce turns in "Blue Collar Lullaby", a dark and gritty, but sweet track, with layered vocals, and definitely dominates the CD as the most ambitious undertaking. "Blue Collar Lullaby" is solid evidence that you don't need loud guitars to be intense.

Likewise, Rise Against contributes a track written by one Neil Hennesey (who may or may not be the drummer from the Lawrence Arms) "Swing Life Away" has Tim singing gently, over a simple but amazingly catchy guitar line. Backups from Bill Stevenson flush out what is probably my favourite track on the disc.

The Ataris' track "Eight of Nine" isn't too bad, and considering how much experience Kris Roe has with the acoustic tracks, it's not surprising that he turns in a decent track. His voice is significantly less whiny than the more generic boy-singer sounds that litter some of the other tracks, so it's a welcome effort. Meanwhile Strike Anywhere's version of Chalkline is a little strained, but has the kind of honesty that is just plain necessary on an acoustic record. It adds much depth into a track which was already awash in it. The slight vocals should be annoying, but are instead pretty endearing.

"Gathering Darkness" performed by Grade - though in reality it was pretty much just vocalist Kyle Bishop - is frustrating because I've heard Bishop on acoustic tracks before, but this track lacks focus and seems to ramble on a little too much. At nearly five minutes, but lacking the complexity of the Coalesce outing, it grows a little tiresome by the end.

Meeting me halfway in the "Tolerable Department" (tolerable in that it didn't immediately annoy me into skipping it) are the tracks from Sugarcult, which turns in a fairly radio friendly number which will probably be on their MTV Unplugged in about six months. Likewise the Starting Line, a band I have little interest in normally, opens with a guitar part straight off the first Jets to Brazil record, so I did listen to most of the track, much to my chagrin as the main chorus had a oddly stuttered guitar part which may have worked on an electric but thumped annoyingly on the acoustic. Equally tolerable were the outings from Midtown, Strung Out and Glasseater; neither annoying nor particularly memorable.

While I have mercifully avoided it till this point in the review, there were some really painful tracks. I should start by mentioning that while I wouldn't consider myself a Finch fan by any means, I found some of their last record interesting at least. But the fact of the matter is that the vocalist desperately needs the guitars, thumping basslines and double-kick drums to back him up, because he seems to be struggling to keep his voice in tune in "Letters to You" a song you'd think he'd know pretty damn well by this point. I mean, I think I could sing it in pitch by now.

Taking Back Sunday - a band whose intense dislike I do not share with some of you - suffers from the same problem. This guy desperately needs a backing band because his warbling vocals seem to dance all around the melodic line without ever landing on it. I sincerely don't want to seem harsh, but seriously, stick with the band. From Autumn to Ashes joins Taking Back Sunday and Finch in my "must-skip" list, because of weak vocals that seem off-key.

Like any compilation, this one is a mixed bag. The biggest surprises were the poetic and emotional undertakings from bands not typically associated with the quiet. On the other hand, some of the biggest disappointments came from bands renowned for their pop and melodic song writing which seemed to depend too heavily on a full band to get their point across.

It's equally hard to make a solid recommendation because of the large range of quality throughout this compilation, but I feel that the outings from Thursday, Rise Against and Coalesce more than make this a worthy listen.

 


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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.
thomas7155 (October 23, 2007)

Score is for Strike Anywhere. they completely changes the dynamic of the song, which is really cool. And Strung Out, normally a very good band, sounds horrible. Probably because the singer doesn't change his vocals. If anything, they're louder. He needs the distortion.

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

this previous post summed it up:

"indie kid: where can i get this peice of shit record?

punk kid: hot topic of course!!

goth kid: thats my favorite place!!

emo kid: i'm sad.

hardcore kid: i used to be a jock."

Anonymous (November 21, 2003)

this album is shit and a disgrace to punk, no actually a disgrace to music and integrity and creativity.

this album is not college radio material anyway and it definitely isn't college radio quality. this is something you expect to see sold in borders to the 15 year old skate punks. or on a rack at a gas station to girls who are buying bubble gum that matches the color of their hair.

dashboard confessional is most definitely the downfall of the musical society. that is only sort of irrelevant.

Anonymous (November 7, 2003)

I'm not really sure where the guy two posts ago got his info, but in my liner notes it only says "Written by Neil Hennesey" There's nothing mentioning Tim or anyone else in Rise Against having anything to do with the song other than performing it...

Anonymous (October 31, 2003)

I wouldn't say that Fearless completely sucks balls. They released 2 of the best At the Drive-In records on that label.

Anonymous (October 27, 2003)

neil co-wrote the song with Tim, he didnt write it exclusively, its in the liner notes...

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

The Face to Face cover was pretty good but I agree with everything else sucking.

Anonymous (October 26, 2003)

Idiot: "best comp ever is the jawbreaker tribute. no tracks that "must" be skipped. plus, it features the aeffect."

Shit dude, you are obviously not a fan of jawbreaker fan at all. That cd is terible, a buch of awful mall punk bands ruined amazing jawbreaker songs. The only good song on it is by Duvall. Whoever picked the bands for this is a fucking moron.

Oh, and staying on topic, this cd sucks along with everthing fearless does.

Anonymous (October 25, 2003)

I'll bet Ryan Adams' version of Wonderwall smokes this whole CD

paperlantern (October 25, 2003)

with the exception of the Rise Against track, this disc is pretty painful. TBS's track sounded absolutely horrific.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

best comp ever is the jawbreaker tribute. no tracks that "must" be skipped. plus, it features the aeffect.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

indie kid: where can i get this peice of shit record?

punk kid: hot topic of course!!

goth kid: thats my favorite place!!

emo kid: i'm sad.

hardcore kid: i used to be a jock.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

the yellowcard song on here kicks ass, and thursdays acoustic version of 'a hole in the world' is arguably better than the original (geoff's voice in the outro is so nice). but overall, alot of this cd is boring, TBS and especially finch do not translate well to acousitc, those songs were obviously not intended to be acoustic. whoever is singing the midtown song could use some auto tuning. i'd say the cd has about 12 good ones on it out of 20, so decide if thats worth 12 bux. the sugarcult song is surprisingly good, i can't believe i said that.

lessthandoug (October 24, 2003)

There are very few compilations are amazing. I've only ever had a few that I actually liked every song on them. This comp is definately not one of them. There are some great songs on here including the ones by Rise Against, Midtown, Piebald, Strung Out, and Thursday's masterpiece 'A Hole in the World'. It is neccessary however to note the horrible songs on this comp. Rufio, FATA, and Finch all contribute acoustic tracks that make you want to fire a gun past your head so that you go deaf and don't have to hear the shrill voices and bad rhythm. Honorable mention for suckfulness goes to Taking Back Sunday who butcher their already horrible song. Now I love John Nolan, he was the only good thing about TBS, and his new band Straylight Run is amazing.....but this track blows. The vocals are horrible and the way they changed things around to make it fit an acoustic town take away from the energy the song has when it is backed by a full band. Overall I would say if you are a big Thursday, Rise Against, Strung Out, or Piebald fan you should definately buy this comp. If not, don't bother with it.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

If you own this, you should seriously consider killing yourself.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

This record BLOWS!

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

i haven't heard this, but i'm surprised by your lack of faith in Tim, the singer from Rise Against. Don't get me wrong, I think RA is a terrible, god-awful band, but Tim used to play in a great band called Baxter (with Neil from Lawerence Arms) and his voice is actually pretty good.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

Joe, would you take offence if I were to say that I want to run over taking back sunday with a ford pinto while blasting "hotel california" on my 8 track?

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

OK the cd rocks because of taking back sunday and from autumn to ashes . a random comment is taking back sunday has a acoustic video on www.thisisnotemo.com and it rocks even harder. And they arent off key they are just different. OOO if you want to talk shit call me joe .

dignin (October 23, 2003)

"god damit man what dont u understand ru people fucking stupid may be i am i dont no but im pretty sure its fucking clear what im saying"

Its Corky from Life Goes On! This score is for his comeback.

TheMarc (October 23, 2003)

You know what needs to make a comeback? Apostrophes. This score is for them.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

bahaha..

This kid must be pulling my leg because I just can't believe he is that drunk and/or can't write worth a damn.

Let's call it a truce and get wasted on bacardi breezers with a lemon twist!

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

shit boy, you need some style.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

god damit man what dont u understand ru people fucking stupid may be i am i dont no but im pretty sure its fucking clear what im saying

funkisdead (October 23, 2003)

wow, that kid is the shit.
how punk rock, just saying what he thinks, fully aware of how horribly fucking stupid and mentally-challenged he seems to all of us...
this score is for that eloquent, meaningful passage.
it set my heart at ease.
i think i'll go buy some fata records. and drink bacardi breezers.

Hulka (October 23, 2003)

"ur a littl retarded"?

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

god damit ok i admit that one was alil unclear so ill do it again
just keep coming back with the worst comments ever... how is fata stupid? because u cant comprehend the idea of people doing different shit at the same time... ok id understand if u just didnt like their music... but saying that there a joke because they do different things... yeah but good comeback tho
if u couldnt understand that one id have to say ur a littl retarded

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

Seriously, what did you just type?

-Justin

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

yeah bro u just keep coming back with the worse comments ever... how is it stupid becuase u cant comprehend of people doing different shit at the same time... ok id understand if u just didnt like the music... but saying that there a joke because they do different things... yeah but good comeback tho

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

"and the other screams like cookie monster"

That was awesome.

-Justin

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

[url]http://www.inger.net/uploaded_images/cookie.jpg[/url]

CO OKIE COOKIE COOKIE

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

yeah you "illeterate" shit.hahaha dumb fuck. FATA is a fucking joke. one guy sings like a pussy and the other screams like cookie monster. so stupid.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

The kid that was saying shit about drunk kid on zima or some gay shit like that... Whose the retard that cant make out 1 misspelled word or do u need me to space shit oout for you... I ll say it again... I havent herd the cd... But to the guy that was talking shit about the guy from fata's(from autum to ashes) voice..... If ur talking about the drummer hes sik... Got it u illeterate shit

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

i like acoustic songs, i love the STD acoustic ep, i like a lot of these bands, but this comp is shit.
the only one really good song is the Strike Anywhere song.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

Being on key and sucking are two completely different things.

Poisonthesink (October 22, 2003)

"Once River City Rebels got kicked off...."

Why'd they get kicked off?

I'm a big TBS fan, but i must admit, i can't stand them acoustic. Even with John Nolan it still hurt to listen to.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

buuuuuurn

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

"The Finch song isn't out of key that much."

He's right you know...they sucked way beforehand.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

"havent herd the cd.. but just gotta say one thing to the guy thats taliking shit about the guy from fata's voice comment was gay and that guy if ur talking about the drummer is fuckin sik so just shhh"

Good lord..either put the bottle down when you're drunk or learn how to write like a normal human being.

Those two bottles of zima have made you out to be quite the retard.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

holy jesus this is bad. i generally really like punk acoustic cds. but christ almighty.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

havent herd the cd.. but just gotta say one thing to the guy thats taliking shit about the guy from fata's voice comment was gay and that guy if ur talking about the drummer is fuckin sik so just shhh

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

The Finch song isn't out of key that much.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

tate-core, thats funny. ha! that guy sucks.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

Thrice - The song didn't turn very well, but it's not that bad

Rise Against - Best song of this comp period, nice vocal & back vocal.

Rufio - Horrible song, voice is lame & annnoying.

Glasseater - I actually like this song, catchy song, the singer got a nice voice on this song.

FATA: Average song..

Piebald - Not bad, nice melody with some harmonica.

TBS: I actually like this song, the seems to have fun doing this song.

Best 3 song for me are: Rise Against, Glasseater, TBS

*Matt

BRinK (October 22, 2003)

ok time for a random comment.. does anyone like radiohead?

BRinK (October 22, 2003)

wow im so confused right now..

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

FATA's vocals are even bad WITH a backing band. I cannot listen to that band...whoever sings should quit and just keep screaming instead.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

i just downloaded the Strike Anywhere track...wow, they should never play acoustic....great band normally though. cant wait to see them on halloween

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

Ew. Thats all I have to say. Ew.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

speaking of thrice, saw them tonight... for once they disappointed me. They played fine, but they nearly played TAITA in its entirty, and only hit IOS 4 times, and 3 were trust, deadbolt and see you in the shallows.. yawn. No Idols, no kill me quickly, etc. AND NOTHING from Identity Crisis. Very disappointing. I realized while TAITA is a'ight.. it's kinda boring live. Thursday kicked my ass though. Well rounded set list.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Fuck this CD. Once River City Rebels got kicked off, I stopped giving any shit at all.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

yeah tate is all yellowcardish, i just got the punk goes acoustic and that answered my question about the yellowcard song. It's actually not that bad. I love this cd. Almost everysong is great!

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

i gave it a five cuz of:
Strike Anywhere
Strung Out
Rise Against
Thrice

and there were probably some others, but those are the only real punk bands on the whole comp

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

actually i have a really cool computer and i cannot do that.

THRICE?? SONG??? GOOD????

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

You're on the internet...even you could find it if you tried.

Hell, you can more than likely find the song itself. It's not like this hasn't been available on the various services for awhile now

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

What about the THRICE song???????????
what song is it and is it good??

inagreendase (October 21, 2003)

I don't totally agree OR disagree, but that was probably the best BSD comment ever.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Ughhh my brain hurts...

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

ask tate-core....i'm sure that yellowcard song somehow changed his life once again.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

so what about the yellowcard song on there...has anyone heard it...is it good?

BSD (October 21, 2003)

No.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I think this album is good. thrice,thursday,rise agianst,strung out,sugarcult all great songs. finch was ok and so was tbs.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I'm glad I never paid a cent for this. There is ONE good song on it. Yes i said ONE, that would be RISE AGAINST, everything else either sucks or is barely OK.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

horrid cover art....wow. Looks like a dashboard photo was traced in illustrator by an art school dropout.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

the TBS one is pre breakup- it has john on it as well

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Im the review, he(the reviewer) says it is just the lead singer. He also says that it sucks.

lessthandoug (October 21, 2003)

Does anyone know if the Taking Back Sunday track is pre-line-up-change and includes John Nolan on vocals?

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

"When will these fucking things stop coming out?"

You mean cds? Probably awhile.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Whoever said this review is bad needs to get their heads examined. Or their IP banned.

MT

KirbyPuckett (October 21, 2003)

Whoa, I really thought Scott wrote that one, then I see Aubin.

Way to throw me a curve ball.

Good review.

I don't really know if I want to buy this though...I have the others, maybe I should...

- Scott
http://www.local-felons.com/
(Ergg)

aubin (October 21, 2003)

I figured it was the Neil from the Lawrence Arms, but I didn't want to misattribute credit if it was just someone with the same name :)

He should write more stuff.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

When will these fucking things stop coming out?

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

"Meanwhile Strike Anywhere's version of Chalkline is a little strained, but has the kind of honesty that is just plain necessary on an acoustic record. It adds much depth into a track which was already awash in it. The slight vocals should be annoying, but are instead pretty endearing. "

Worst piece of reviewing ever. "Chalkline" is the best song on this lame CD.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

fans of acoustic pop-punk should check this out: http://www.mp3.com/The_Chimpunks -- acoustic covers of Fat Wreck Chords/Epitaph style songs (NOFX, Bad Religion, etc) ... pretty good stuff.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Thursdays punk? I thought they were just shit.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Neil hennessy is indeed the drummer from the lawrence arms. Interesting that he's got a song on this, because there's only one song that he wrote (or at least sings on) on all of the LA's wealth of albums...interested to hear it.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

"The acoustic guitar, he said, would force you to concentrate on the melody and the song structure and not cheat by hiding behind a wall of distortion."

Cheat? Yeah right, try telling that to My Bloody Valentine or the Jesus and Mary Chain. Anything they do is better than Weezer--Blue album included.

--John B.

Dubar (October 21, 2003)

its worth it for just the strike anywhere song. I didnt think it was strained at all and it gives them a chance to show off that amazing songwriting. Its cool because they're such an intense band but the song is so subdued.. its like you know that he wants to scream but it always holds you on the brink of exploding

at_the_drive_in_21 (October 21, 2003)

This album's cover art is up there with the Punk Vs. Emo comp. reviewed a while back...

TheOneTrueBill (October 21, 2003)

just think. you kids waited all that time... for this?

Hubitcherkokov (October 21, 2003)

I agree with HeyBarmold on the Strung Out comment...this score is for them.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

that cover art, just is... not good.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

aww how cute, Dashboard Confessional is on the cover

HeyBarmold

10 for strung out just being Strung Out

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

last post was Ramo.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

coalesce rocks. how i miss them...

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

punk goes metal was great, this and the pop one are just poop

ElVaquero (October 20, 2003)

anyone wanna host the strike anywhere, rise against, thursday, and coalesce songs on a website temporarily so i can nab them without my p2p-hating school proxy getting in the way?

8dollarclarinetsolo (October 20, 2003)

this is real cheap i assume?? ehh i might get this one along with picking up that audio rocketry one

Anonymous (October 20, 2003)

Rise Against, Strike Anywhere, Piebald and Thursday are far and away the best songs on this disc. But on the otherhand some of these songs are really bad.

You're better off either getting this used or download the four bands listed above. It's pretty much all you need..

aubin (October 20, 2003)

I honestly had nothing to say about the Piebald song. It's southern gospel meets Piebald. I don't know what else to say. I didn't think it was bad, but I didn't care for it either.

maverick (October 20, 2003)

Dang, Aubin. You didn't even mention the Piebald song, which is easily one of the best three songs on the disc. For shame.

-Scott

Anonymous (October 20, 2003)

Acoustic "Letters To You" blows the big one. They released it as a bonus track on the Japanese version. Shite, I tells ya.

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