The Van Ermans - Under The Gun (Cover Artwork)

The Van Ermans

The Van Ermans: Under The GunUnder The Gun (2005)
Broken Spoke

Reviewer Rating: 2

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

The elementary school talent show. While it may have been an excuse to get out of doing long division or studying state capitals for a few hours, it was always essentially just as boring as the work you were doing anyhow. But did you care? Hell no, you were out of class! Of course, none of these act.

The elementary school talent show. While it may have been an excuse to get out of doing long division or studying state capitals for a few hours, it was always essentially just as boring as the work you were doing anyhow. But did you care? Hell no, you were out of class! Of course, none of these acts would be any good; you'd have some juggling, maybe a song or two, or the same kid every year who tried to ride a unicycle but fell down anyhow. Nothing to remember ever comes out of these things, but wait, there are the Van Ermans. This band comprised of 3 kids who can't even legally buy a 12-pack yet actually got their start, you guessed it, at an elementary school talent show.

Seven years, two albums, and an EP later, by way of Broken Spoke Records the band is releasing Under The Gun. This leaves a band in an interesting situation, as 7 years into most band's careers playing this style they're inching ever closer to being 30. Nonetheless, and despite their pop-punk approach, the band displays a maturity not seen in a lot of 19-year-old musicians. If anything, the three youngsters play well off each other, and sure as hell know how to write a catchy tune. Infectious hooks and three-part harmonies dominate the bulk of these songs, and they really endear you to the album.

Things kick off right with "I Live My Life Like A French Movie" (hello Fall Out Boy), which combines a bouncy chord progression with Ian Graham and Ben Keeler's terrific harmonizing. The verses carry well into the choruses, which are among the catchiest on the entire album. The song also slightly reminds me of AFI's "Girl's Not Grey" as far as inflection in the chorus, but the overall mood of the record is far less dark than anything Davey Havok has ever had a hand in. There are bits and pieces of brilliance that fade in and out of the record like a radio signal. Sometimes the magic is there, and other times the song structures just make things fall flat. This could also be due to the fact that the band just outstays their welcome for this type of music, as 46 minutes just stretches the attention span a tad too far. All things considered, chalk it up to their maturity that they were able to write something that long, but next time, shaving off 10 minutes or so wouldn't hurt things.

The band's maturity is missing one facet, however: lyrics;

Sometimes I feel restless, I feel overdone / I'm so sick, so tired of my everyday time complications / Hard to be -- just to breathe, you're a habit I don't need / All this seemed, repetition to me/ So much time, so little of it set aside for me to live my life.
Ouch guys, that's going to dock you some points.

Youthful exuberance will only take a band so far, and the Van Ermans have found the end of that road on this album. Admittedly, they're far past the majority of bands their age in maturity and songwriting, but a few more years and a better understanding of how important flow to an album is will do great things for this trio. A commendable effort from a young band with all the potential pop-punk could possibly offer.


People who liked this also liked:
Flashlight Brown - BlueH2O - Nothing to ProveOne Win Choice - Never Suspend DisbeliefLet Me Run - Meet Me at the BottomOne Win Choice - Define/Redefine [7 inch]Fireworks - Adventure, Nostalgia and Robbery [7 inch]We Are the Union - Who We AreWe Are the Union - The Gun Show Must Go On

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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.
xjustmyluckx (June 10, 2006)

Horrible review. You never really clarify your actual feelings on the album nor do you actually make a distinct review of the album. You wave back and forth on your opinion. The album is catchy as hell, has the hooks and the potential to be something more, which is something that always pushes a band to top themselves.

Anonymous (December 18, 2005)

fox trotsky played with mustard plug and met ian and ever since they've had a very close relationship. so i am happy that the van ermans exist at all. im myke. i live with a guy who used to be friends with a guy who was in a band that the guys from fox trotsky were in before fox trotsky was around. im pretty much famous.

Anonymous (October 11, 2005)

I don't understand where everyone is getting the impression that Anchor started off by dissing the band. I perceived mostly compliments (ie., "they play well off each other", "they sure know how to write a catchy melody", etc.). And I thought the alcohol comment referred tothe guys' age when they started the band (around age 11). So calm the fuck down, everyone. Everyone is allowedtheir own opinion. Ithink you're just pissed that someone else is publishing one (and probably getting paid, too!) that doesn't agree with your own. Or something. And I don't apologize ifthis pisses you off, too. Suck it the fuck up, buttercup.

Anonymous (August 22, 2005)

soooo...what does the record sound like?

just because someone doesn't like it, it's their job to at least say something about it so other people might.

Anonymous (August 22, 2005)

Hah, the last thing I need in my life to complicate it more is to get laid, but if anybody would care to offer... Ben @ 517.896.3931, call me anytime.

Anonymous (August 21, 2005)

I played a show with these kids a loooong time ago and they were really nice. Not a big fan of their style, but they were cool. Talk to them if you ever see them.

Oh yeah, Michigan Represent! (even though I now live in Illinois)


Timis (August 20, 2005)

"don't hate me because i am beautiful"

these dudes are utter garbage

AlmostPunkEnough (August 19, 2005)

why does everyone bitch about Anchors intros? every monday and thursday night when i look through the new reviews the only thing i definitley read are the first paragraphs of his reviews. at least i'm garunteed something different and original every time. i might not always agree with his taste, but it's always a good read.

keep it up.

SkolarX (August 19, 2005)

in answer to the comment a couple down. same royce, he is in blueprint 76 now

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

I can't believe I'm actually agreeing with Anchors right now, but he has a point about the age deal. It is interesting to see such a young band make such potentially good music or actual good music depending on how you feel. He just used their ages and the purchasing of alcohol as a reference, no more no less. So yall can get over that.

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

i just picked this up today. really fucking good.

is the royce nunley who put this out the same one from suicide machines?

Anchors (August 19, 2005)

To the not ever getting laid dude below;

I don't ever, ever discriminate bands by their age. Though, it has to be mentioned that they're so young because it's not something often seen
in music, or at least bands actually signed to labels.

It's actually because of their age I wanted the album to be good. I wanted them to defy stereotypes and create something great 4 or 5 years before most people ever get that chance but guess what? It didn't happen. As I said in the review this is by no means horrible music, it just needs a little more of a creative direction, which is something that almost surely will come with age.

And to the other dude, I don't normally care how long an album is as long as it stays interesting. 45 minutes is just a bit much to keep sub-par pop punk interesting. Simple as that.

hitlerbadzakgood (August 19, 2005)

hey i know these guys. i'm pretty sure ben can legally buy alcohol, i do believe he owns his own house as well. and ian produced my friends album. as does he tour regularly with mustard plug. i actually think this review is kinda unfair. i dont see how 46 minutes is too long for any album, and if youd listen to thier other music, this is a huge step up in providing a good flow to an album.

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

I agree with the guy below somewhat. Anchors lame intros have struck again and with no positive effect at all. I'm impressed he actually gave them a shot without condemning them completely. Some parts of this review could have been handled differently but I'd say it's one of his better reviews. I'd like to see what Anchor will say in response to the spaz guy down there. Be cool man, it's gonna be ok.

Marlon (August 19, 2005)

I think he pulled out the little amount of things to compliment so he wouldn't have to trash them guy...

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

Whoa dude... get laid or something...

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

So you're going to try to tell me that while you're "admittingly" able to give compliments to the Van Ermans on many facets of the album (which I personally enjoy quite thoroughly), all of that is immediately downgraded by the fact that they are young? The age of members (which by the way, alcohol CAN be bought by this band) should have absolutely nothing to do with the enjoyment brought by listening to said songs. Of course you are free to not enjoy tunes, but your opening paragraph is so tainted with immediate stereotypes and bad tastes in mouths that you pretty much lost any sight of giving this album a fair review from the start.

P.S. To the dude who mentioned that the bass player looks like Drew Carey, I'm glad that there are people like you to help us understand the details that make bands flourish in the musical spectrum. HEY BRY WEBB FROM THE CONSTANTINES LOOKS LIKE BROSNON PINCHOT SO THEY SUCK LOLOLOLOLOL.

Anonymous (August 19, 2005)

they shouldve stayed ska.

Timis (August 19, 2005)

god these guys are painful......the bass player looks like drew carey. i say they are el crapola - been doing playing for YEARS. i say give it up.

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