Before Billy Talent there was...
As courtesy of the guys behind the amazing punk rock act Billy Talent, the release of their old work, back when they were the high schooler band know as Pezz, has found its way back into stores. Yes, even in their early years, Billy Talent always had an amazing amount of talent, and their angered and troubled sleeper of a vocalist Benjamin always had the knack for writing incredibly straight-foward, in-your-face, sarcastic lyrics. The first time I listened I was found with my mouth open, for it's not close to raw anger that Billy Talent now holds, but it's sarcastic humour being spat at you from the speakers from a much younger Benjamin and Ian who at this point didn't have his trademark tall hair. Pezz may not be the anger-guided Billy Talent most of us have come to known, but it's definitely a must-have and a must-listen for any fan of good punk rock.
The CD starts with my personal favorite "M&M." It's a very mid-tempo song about being a freak in school, and most of the CD stays to the style that this song sets. Lyrics like "You called me a freak, join the circus you clown!" put a nice smile on my face, and the guitars, which carry an almost surfer vibe to them, let the song flow nicely; the production is a bit of a problem, but the songs are so good one tends not to notice. The album's second song, "Rita," has verses between Benjamin speaking and whooping, which just seems so playful it's hard to stop listening because you want to know how the song ends. Another personal favourite is the fast tempo track "The Warmth of Windows," which in my opinion, along with "M&M," are the main roots of Billy Talent's creative sound. Now, while the sarcastic lyrics are not comparable to their new counterparts, they still give the listener a good chuckle, and again, definitely show where Billy Talent came from. A downfall is the band's trying too hard to be funny, and sometimes it just doesn't flow like their newer material; as well, the production job leaves the guitars and bass far too loud over the vocals and drums, making it hard to listen to Benjamin's already rapid spitfire of words. But if you give it time (and a few glances at the lyrics) you'll find this CD to grow on you very fast, Billy Talent fan or not.
This was definitely an awsome gift from Billy Talent to their fans (my guess is for the delay of their new album, which should come out in 2006). It's not the best material by the Canadian four-piece, but it's definitely a must-have for any Billy Talent fan.