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Grabass Charlestons - Ask Mark Twain (Cover Artwork)

Grabass Charlestons

Grabass Charlestons: Ask Mark TwainAsk Mark Twain (2005)
No Idea Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


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

I could draw some lengthy comparison between the Grabass Charlestons and Mark Twain. I could talk about how both the Gainesville punk band and the famous author present social commentary under the guise of light-hearted, often comical storytelling, or the way they both use art as a means of dissent,.
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I could draw some lengthy comparison between the Grabass Charlestons and Mark Twain. I could talk about how both the Gainesville punk band and the famous author present social commentary under the guise of light-hearted, often comical storytelling, or the way they both use art as a means of dissent, but you know what, that might just ruin things. You see, what makes the Grabass Charlestons so great is their simplicity. Now, I don't mean unskilled, incapable simplicity, I mean knowing how to trim the fat so only the juiciest bits remain.

The Charlestons play gimmick free pop-punk made up of speedy drumbeats and fuzzy, often jangly guitars topped off with No Idea's should-be-patented gruff vocal delivery. The songs exhibit an energy most punk bands wish they could muster and a pop songwriting knowledge most punk bands are too scared to indulge in. The guitar parts often carry a melody of their own that is nicely interwoven with drummer Will Thomas's one-too-many cigarette vocals, while bassist Dave Drobach adds some well-placed harmonies and backups.

Lyrically, the band tackles everything from anti-war protests and patriotism to being a line cook and coke addiction. They even use some of Mark Twain's poetry on the title track. The lyrics are intelligent and bitterly sarcastic, much like fellow punks the Lawrence Arms and Dillinger Four. You will feel informed, but not overwhelmed -- entertained, but not brainless.

The only problem with this album is that the same simplicity that is so endearing and enjoyable can also lead to minor problems. Some of the tracks will seem a bit indistinguishable to the untrained punk listener, and when Thomas puts down the mic down so Drobach can take over lead duties on "Prosthetic Soul" it is rough, and not in the good sense.

Still, these inconsistent moments are far from glaring and in no way detract from a pop-punk album that manages to do what all pop-punk albums should strive to: Deliver a fun and energetic product that is as accessible as it is clever.

 

 
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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.
boldredletters (October 3, 2005)

The fact that they are working class has nothing to do with his voice, it has to do with the fact that they are working class?

Anonymous (October 1, 2005)

This is how a review should be written. No track by track analysis, and without ever hearing this record I already have a good idea of what to expect.

notfeelingcreative (October 1, 2005)

"Why is it that whenever a band has a vocalist with a gruff voice, there labeled working class?"

Because a working class hero is something to be.

Anonymous (October 1, 2005)

Why is it that whenever a band has a vocalist with a gruff voice, there labeled working class?

hobbitcore (October 1, 2005)

to the dorks down there who think this isn't pop punk...
just because something is gritty and gruff doesn't mean it isn't pop punk
The Lawrence Arms are pop punk
Dillinger Four are pop punk
North Lincoln are pop punk
and Grabass Charlestons are pop punk

Anonymous (October 1, 2005)

No Idea= Amazing.

Anonymous (October 1, 2005)

has its moments, but overall their worst and least consistent release yet.

wehavecomeforyourchildren (September 30, 2005)

i got all three, "either way you go is good" is true, but going with greatest story is best.

notfeelingcreative (September 30, 2005)

"i want to buy one of their records but im just not sure.."

Well, they only have two (and the billy reese peters split) either way you go is good!

VitusTinnitus (September 30, 2005)

Mark Twain fuckin' rules. I love The Mysterious Stranger.

Anonymous (September 30, 2005)

http://www.grabasscharlestons.com

in the media section

8dollarclarinetsolo (September 30, 2005)

any one know where i can find an mp3 of this? i want to buy one of their records but im just not sure..

TenderBransonX (September 30, 2005)

I love this album. I've decided to call this kind of punk Whiskey-Punk.

takingchase (September 30, 2005)

awesome record

definitely not pop punk

Crookedsuperhero (September 30, 2005)

Great album, just better than Hula'd.

superdude (September 30, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here’s how I would make it better:

1. Believe me, I would ask Mark Twain if I could.

2. Does the reviewer hate it when someone says, “Believe you me?”

3. How about more references to some of Twain’s older and more recognized work?

4. More importantly, how about some references to sweater-vests.

5. Argyle is the new pink.

Anonymous (September 30, 2005)

I guess "catchy punk" would have been better than "pop punk." I was just really impressed with the melodic guitar playing and the melodies.

-Matt

ramo (September 30, 2005)

I love this album.

Grabass should come back to the city soon. They were fucking great live. One of the best working class punk bands that rank up there with Swingin' Utters, Beltones, and Avail.

Ramo

Anonymous (September 30, 2005)

This isn't "pop punk" it's just "punk."

OC

ElVaquero (September 30, 2005)

pop punk?

uhhh

AlmostPunkEnough (September 30, 2005)

fantastic.

i've been waiting for a review of this forever. everyone needs to get this immediatley. it took a long time, but i finally think this is better than "The Greates Story Ever Hula'd". and i love that cd too.

Mute98 (September 30, 2005)

hell yes! i love this band.. really gritty and catchy

wehavecomeforyourchildren (September 30, 2005)

god damn, i was gonna write a review of this sometime this week.

i wouldn't say will's "addicted to coke." he just likes it. and as far as prosthetic soul is concerned, that shit is good. not to take away from the other tracks, but i like it better than crazy plane or those dirty line cooks.

also, while i said the last GaC album was pop punk, for the most part, i wouldn't call this pop punk. it's waaaaaaaaaaaay less poppy. shit's just straight up punk rock, emphasis on the rock. there ain't no beer exiles on this disc and there sure as hell aren't any suicides at $8 an hour.

thefirstfive (September 30, 2005)

how is this pop punk? Its just super catchy punk.

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