The Sermon - Volume (Cover Artwork)

The Sermon

The Sermon: VolumeVolume (2004)
Alternative Tentacles

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Little late getting' in on the retro-rock trend, doncha think, AT? SF's The Sermon throw their hat into the ring, trying to make a buck at a current trend: MC5-inspired loud rock, where each band is trying to be louder than the last. Every band tries to add their own little twist to be apart f.
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Little late getting' in on the retro-rock trend, doncha think, AT?

SF's The Sermon throw their hat into the ring, trying to make a buck at a current trend: MC5-inspired loud rock, where each band is trying to be louder than the last. Every band tries to add their own little twist to be apart from the others, but it really comes down to the songs. The Sermon's twist? Apparently their singer also plays some theremin, but I could not detect it much on the record because it is buried in the wall of noise. Also, The Sermon like to stay more on the punk side of things, with most songs being up tempo. The Sermon has some ex- people contained therein, with members from The Dukes of Hamburg, The Fells, and Mount McKinleys, in case any of you know them `cuz I sure don't.

These guys do sound a hell of a lot like Born in the USA-era MC5, except they kept some bass in their mix, and they add even more fuzz on the vocals and stay away from melody more. To compare them to modern retro-rock outfits, they have the loose swagger and style of Mando Diao without the pop hooks, instead adding the punk speed and gritty vocals of The Hives without being as rigid. Although they are certainly not breaking any new ground, these guys are pretty fuckin' powerful.

This, their debut full length, starts off hard-hitting, as any album of this genre should, with "Time Has Come" a blistering rocker. Second track "Latent Image" features some awesome harmonica, the most intense harmonica I've heard. This song cools down the volume a bit in the verses but is no less passionate, and actually it reminds me a bit of Mando Dio's "Motown Blood", the "groove" part. Harmonica appears on the next song as well, but nowhere else, which disappointed me. The player is not in the band, but maybe singer Mike should pick it up and add it in more songs. "Miss A" was a favorite track of mine, even though it's a bit down tempo (for them at least), it has one of the better melodies of the record and it has some cool "woo's" at the end. "Luzerne County" is a strong track with some audible theremin squeals in the bridge, but the vocals are buried and try to hide the cool dark lyrics recalling a murder. "Surprise" fixes the vocal problem and it is actually kind of melodic and simple, it is one of my favorites.

This album is powerful, but not any more thanā?¦ well let's say Mando Diao again, a band who vary their songs a lot more and snag you with hooks. The songs on Volume tend to blend one into the next, and I was pretty tired of it by the end. Each song listened to on its own stands up and is pretty damn good, but the wall of sound gets a little stale, sorry to say. I bet they're kick-ass live though.


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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.
Hulka (November 29, 2004)

The Sermon have been around at least as long as the Hives ... they just didn't have the kind of backing behind them so that anyone had heard of them outside of the Bay Area.

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

Wal-Mart is a chain, though... Shut up

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

Fact: Wal-Mart is sells more records than any other record store and makes up for 20% of total music sales.

Putting a "Fact:" is pretty pretentious, especially when you're wrong.

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

Fact: In the US, being on AT assures that the major chains don't carry your shit. Best Buy and Barnes & Noble are where most people buy their music.

Fact: I don't know anything about the current European music scene, but where I live no one is shallow or downright stupid enough to buy a record just because of the label it's on. Most AT bands don't just sprout out of AT... they come with fans, a strategy that assures more sales.


Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

" Especially if they're on a label with exclusively indie distro.".

Fact: People buy records like this just cause "they're on AT, and that's jello's label, and how cool isn't he?

Fact: In europe, they're handled by major distribution companies. Like, really major.

Fact: This band is fucking rocks it.

Anonymous (November 28, 2004)

AT jumping on trends? Hah. Yeah, they're very trendy... dumbass.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

Have you heard www.purevolume.com/motorfalcon

greg0rb (November 27, 2004)

Ok, point taken. My bad.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

I don't like this record because it's on AT (even though AT is a great label)... It's good rock n roll, and really sounds nothing like the Hives.

I'm not saying your opinion of the bands' music is "wrong", I'm just saying that you shouldn't be so quick to judge that they're in it to make a buck... Especially if they're on a label with exclusively indie distro.


greg0rb (November 27, 2004)

I would call it retro-rock if even their own bio compares them to MC5, Stooges and the Yardbirds.

I knew it would be risky at all dissing a band on AT. Is Jello god or what? Honestly this is now only the second band off AT I own a record by... the first being guess who: DK. I liked this record people, 6 is not bad...it's like a C. Average.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

This doesnt sound anything like "retro-rock", sounds more like good punk rock to me, AT always release quality records.

Anonymous (November 27, 2004)

No band besides the Hives are popular and genuinely rock... It's no way to make money. I think the newest trend would be copying The Cure's quirkiness, but making it unlistenable dribble.

This band is great.


boldredletters (November 26, 2004)

yeah, it seems kind of low to accuse alternative tentacles, of all people, of trying to jump on a trend.

adam (November 26, 2004)

"trying to make a buck at a current trend"

Not that I know per se, but this sounds like a pretty shallow opinion. I'd like to think that maybe the band is more sincere than that.

I really want to hear this but have yet to get my hands on it. I've read some interesting things about it.

...but let's hear it for the new Mando Diao record! Huzzah!


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