If there is anything I’ve learned from reviewing music, it is that the press sheet accompanying an album is often inaccurate. Whether it is outlandish band comparisons or embellished claims of said album’s significance, press sheets often work more as selling points for lazy critics than informative documents. So, it is a welcome occurrence when part of a press release actually proves true or useful.
The press sheet that came packed in with Two Minutes’ Enlightenment offered one of these rare true statements. It stated that, “What would be jangly folk-punk songs are amplified and rock-ified into power-pop-punk bursts with a unique sound that makes you want to dance and sing along!”
Now, I could just stop my review right here and leave you with that quotation as an indicator of what Onion Flavored Rings have to offer, but sadly, I am not a P.R. person and there is always more to an album than just its positives.
So yes, Onion Flavored Rings are a band that blend folk-punk and power-pop. They have a fun and -- thanks to singer Steve Funyon’s quirky, nasally cadence -- unique sound. They play the kind of music that is made for basement DIY shows where self-conscious arm-crossing is cast off for dancing and singing.
Still, it isn’t just the music that makes Two Minutes’ Enlightenment “fun,” there is also the CD packaging. From the simple exterior cartoon art, to the lyrics that are presented as a rebus, and a crossword puzzle with the band as its subject, the CD seems like a self-made product that was done for amusement rather than profit.
Despite all of the album’s great attributes, “fun” is often a dangerous prospect, one that can lead to awkward moments, like when someone tells a joke that just isn’t funny and you still feel obliged to laugh. For Onion Flavored Rings, these glaring instances most often arise in the lyrics. Sophomoric lines like “I was a boy / And it was time for takin’ chances / It was time for growin’ up / I got a girl / And it was true love everlasting / Up until she broke it off,” mix with trite self-loathing like “I know I’m unattractive / I guess it’s sad but true / I thought it wouldn’t matter/ Okay, I’m stupid too / For thinking you could love me / For the person on the inside,” to create distracting moments within otherwise simple and catchy songs.
Still, faults aside, Two Minutes’ Enlightenment is a nice breath of fresh air that blew in from the poppy and fun outskirts of the punk rock world. A breath that recalls both the simplicity and adolescent joy of classic pop-punk, while infusing it with some of folk’s troubadour quality.