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Soulcracker - At Last, For You (Cover Artwork)

Soulcracker

Soulcracker: At Last, For YouAt Last, For You (2001)
Large Marge

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: maverickScott
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God bless VH1. I don't think I ever would have said that with good conscience 5 years ago, but the channel has really changed their whole style. I remember when I was a preteen, thinking that MTV was the coolest and VH1 was for my parents. And to be honest, it was. Until they started doing somet.
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God bless VH1. I don't think I ever would have said that with good conscience 5 years ago, but the channel has really changed their whole style. I remember when I was a preteen, thinking that MTV was the coolest and VH1 was for my parents. And to be honest, it was. Until they started doing something MTV was refusing to do -- play music videos. That automatically puts them up one notch in my book. Then came the cool shows -- Behind The Music [I still love watching the Vanilla Ice episode], The List [whatever happened to that show? My lists were always so much better], and their latest innovation, Bands On The Run.

Bands On The Run is VH1's dabble into the "reality-TV" market. It is a music fan's version of "The Real World" or "Survivor." I became hooked from the first episode, following the adventures of 4 bands across the country. There was the Josh Dodes Band, who I'm sure immediately got pegged by everybody as a Ben Folds Five ripoff [I didn't mind, as I like BF5]. You had Harlow, the all girl, goth-grunge band. They sounded like Hole, but much, much worse. Third was Flickerstick. Sure, they had the "corporate rock" sound [in fact, they recently signed to Epic Records], but they did it damn well and had really good stage presence, when it counted. And lastly, there was a little 5-piece out of San Diego called Soulcracker. Immediately I found this name stupid and immature, and my view of the band quickly followed those lines. I threw my support solely behind Flickerstick for the majority of the show, hoping they would get the big payoff at the end. But then something funny happened -- out of all those little clips of the bands performing live, the Soulcracker songs were the ones that stuck in my head. Night and day. At work, in the shower, while driving. I had Soulcracker on the brain. I quickly reevaluated my stance on the bands, pegging Flickerstick as the stereotypical wannabe rockstars, and realizing that Soulcracker A)was really, really good, B)deserved to win, and C)needed to come to Illinois, so I could see them live. Well, they didn't win the show [total complete robbery on VH1's part], but they did come to Illinois, in the form of the Warped Tour in Chicago.

When I arrived at the Warped Tour that hot July day, I had no idea Soulcracker was even on the tour. I had seen no mention of it anywhere online. But as soon as I walked in, I saw the posters everywhere: "Holy Shit! It's Soulcracker!" they all screamed, in bright green. I snatched one off of a wall nearby and looked forward to seeing them later in the day. As I watched great bands like 311, The Lawrence Arms, and H2O, all my mind could really think about was Soulcracker. Silly, I know, but I couldn't help it. Their show time finally rolled around, and I took my position at the front of the incredibly small stage, watching these 5 guys who I felt like I actually knew from watching their exploits on TV rock out with no turning back. Their set was explosive [to me, anyways] and I swiftly picked up a copy of their newest CD at their merch table. Even though more bands were still to come, my mission was complete: I saw Soulcracker.

The rest of the day was downhill from there, once the festival ended. My girlfriend and I got lost going back to her house in the suburbs, ending up at one point in Indiana. After finally getting her home safely, she picked that moment [at 12:30 AM, mind you] to break up with me. Cue arguing for over 2 hours in her front yard. Good times. I didn't get home until 4 AM, and had to be at work at 7 AM, but none of it was really phasing me. All I looked forward to was getting off of work so I could play the Soulcracker CD. I almost felt bad for the CD, as I had built it up in my mind so much, was there any way it could possibly live up to my expectations? In 2 words, Hell-motherfucking-Yes.

From the funky but powerful opener "Bones In The Ground" to the early-on slow rocker "Greatest Generation," from the metal-meets-ska of "I Never Do This" to the guitar crunch of "Waiting," from the amazingly good "Staring at the Sun" to the amazingly bizarre "The Devil Does," this album really fucking rocks. Out of the 15 tracks, none are huge duds, with only a few that are too sugary for my tastes ["Too Far, Too Hard," "Everyday," and "One Wave" come to mind]. This band has amazing vocal harmonies and their guitar and drum chops are top-notch. The only big setback is the recording quality. It's missing a little snap in the whole production, although it doesn't sound bad by any means. This band does a wonderful job of mixing a lot of punk and aggressive rock with bits and pieces of ska, jazz, and metal. It's really enjoyable and heartfelt, as well as being ridiculously catchy. This band, in all fairness, should be huge. They always will be in my books. VH1, keep up the good work.

MP3s
Everyday
Greatest Generation
I Can't Stand It
One Wave
16oz. of Domestic Violence
Too Far, Too Hard

 

 
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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.
Anonymous (December 18, 2001)

Wow you guys below me must be so punk rock! Yeah you know, middle class living in the suburbs is pretty punk rock buds. You guys rock! Yeah!

Anonymous (September 23, 2001)

How can you even clasify a piece of shit band like this as punk. How is competing on VH1 punk?

Anonymous (August 17, 2001)

i am way too punk for this.

Anonymous (August 17, 2001)

sucky suck

Anonymous (August 16, 2001)

suck

Kurt_F (August 14, 2001)

Scott, that "big exec" was Kevin Lyman, you know, the guy that runs the Warped Tour. He was merly offering a suggestion. Beastie sounds terrible on their other cd's, but good live and on this cd.

Anonymous (August 13, 2001)

Of all bands to be arguing over "who's punk and who's not." Soulcracker? Geez. There are better bands to be wasting our time over.

Anonymous (August 13, 2001)

Eh.........
Nothing that great.

Anarchy_Adam (August 13, 2001)

I don't get VH1 up here in Canada, but I listened to a couple songs from these guys, and I have to say, I was pleasently unimpressed.I couldn't put my finger on which band this was aching to sound like, but it didn't sound original in any way. I won't even try to get into the corporate sound thing here, since its been overdiscussed, and nobody is going to change anyone else's mind. My personal reccomendation is to skip this and buy the new Fantomas record. Its one of the most amazing CDs Ive ever bought.

maverick (August 12, 2001)

You say that the band was "reliant" on VH1. I disagree. The band was merely looking for another outlet to display the music that they love to play. Had either of my bands had the opportunity to be on the show, I would have jumped at the chance. I mean, it's going on tour! How fucking awesome is that? And someone covers most of your expenses, as well as hooking you up majorly if you won. So, essentially, you're taking free money and free instruments from a very big corporation, and in return all you do is go out and play good rock music. That sounds pretty "punk rock" to me, stealing from an evil nasty corporation. And as for how the band relates ethically, they *are* DIY! Did anyone else promote their shows on tour? No. Do they get their own CDs manufactured without the help of a label? Yes. Do they have any kind of financial backing from any label, independent *or* major? No. I think they completely are true to themselves. There was a part on the show where Beastie [vocals] was talking about how some big Hollywood music exec told the band that Sutton [vocals/guitar] should take over lead vocals, to be more "friendly" to the record business. They decided against it. The band has been around since 1997, it's not like they formed specifically for VH1's sake. I believe they are DIY and are fucking good.

As for your Weezer comment, you are correct. Weezer is not a punk band, I don't think anyone would argue that point. They are good, though [at least pre-Green Album], and have been a huge influence on many of our lives. A lot of kids who come to this site, myself included, love Weezer to death and enjoy seeing news about them here then having to go to someplace like MTV.com and find out just a little bit of info. Weezer may not be a punk band, b ut they fit into our little subculture that we have here very nicely; I'm certainly not going to serve them with an eviction notice.

-Scott [Yeah, I'm the same guy who writes for this site. People never realize that.]

Anonymous (August 12, 2001)

Ok... I'm sorry, that was juvenile of me. Let me argue my point better.

I understand that the early punk bands were on major labels. Understandable. These days however, punk has become a much larger underground movement. The whole reliance on major labels were dropped when people in the underground scene started using the DIY ethic, to keep true to themselves. So as to not play into the hands of corporations, whether it be for a political reason, or a personal reason. Going on a VH1 show seems to me pretty reliant. And no, you don't have to live in a shithole to be "more punk", but lets not whore ourselves to these people!

By the way, i don't even see the connection between Soulcracker ethically OR musically! I just don't understand.

Also, i would have to argue that Weezer doesn't really fit into this site. However, i can say that i do enjoy them. I just don't think they are exactly "punk".

Sorry if that was very elitist because i'm not usually like this, but i felt the need to say SOMETHNG.

maverick (August 12, 2001)

In reply to the last two people, in that order:
To Mr. Anonymous: Please tell me how this is a "corporate" record. Large Marge Records doesn't really exist outside of Soulcracker, it is essentially their label. And what defines "corporate," anyways? Punk rock started on major labels. The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie, Generation X, and more all were on majors. Are all those bands "corporate?" Yes, this album is radio-friendly, but that doesn't make it "corporate." And go ahead and write a Madonna review. If you can prove that she's "punk," go for it. I'm currently working on an NSYNC review, proving that *they* are punk rock [no, I'm not kidding]. You're just displaying ignorance, Mr. Anonymous.
To Pat41: as for my opinions on VH1's interference in the show's victor, here we go: Nowhere did the show ever say that the winner of the last battle of the bands would also get $5000 [or however much it was]. There was never any money associated with the previous two, so why should there be with the last one? Easy. VH1 realized that a band like Flickerstick [who I *do* like, too] is much more marketable in terms of A&R and a music video, and threw in that money having faith that Flickerstick would win the battle of the bands for the third time. I have firm beliefs that VH1 wanted Flickerstick to beat Soulcracker. It makes sense. That's just my 2 cents.

pat41 (August 12, 2001)

They may have been the best band on the show but you cant hardly say that VH1 robbed them of the victory. VH1, the company, had no say in who won the contest. It was based on merchandise sales, ticket sales and battles of the bands. Any fan of the show would know that. But otherwise this band was ok. Nothing special really.

Anonymous (August 12, 2001)

Alright... soon, i'm going to review a Madonna record to see if I can get away with calling it punk.

Man, I try to be open minded... but fuck, the corporate bullshit seems to be overflowing!

Anonymous (August 12, 2001)

Dude, you are so right. This is a great cd, but the best song by far is "21 Gun Salute". I discovered them via BOTR too (and I never missed an episode). I liked all the bands excpet Harlow, they were terrible. Anyways, Flickerstick is pretty dang good too, you have to admit that guitar on "Smile" is awesome. Anyways, Soulcracker are a cool band, go to their website and check out the message boards, Ramsey and Sutton post every day.
-Kurt

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