Something is happening.
Something moving, something groundbreaking, something that the music scene hasn't seen since the `80s. We as a culture are all at the forefront of a collection of musicians and fans who are trying to put false pretenses and unwarranted belittling of each other aside and actually focus in on what brings us together: music. Music being that of epic proportions that leaves you breathless and you cannot explain what happened, your feelings failing to be expressed in words, because they all seem to belittle what actually took place. What has been interesting to see is how the sounds have divided, but the people are headed forward in the same directions.
We are seeing artists come together and almost completely join voices for creativity and individuality. Bands that work harder than your average make-up-laden puppet act are taking a stance of being sick of watered down, filtered and bland music. While some artists have taken the route of creating emotionally moving pieces of work over extended periods, sometimes free of music, some are taking their hearts and screaming off-key choruses over out-of-tune guitars across the country to any available outlet. This is the latter. This is O Pioneers!!!'s first full-length record, Black Mambas.
The folk-punk movement has been emerging from the undergrounds for a better part of the decade and has rarely been disappointing. Yet it is hard for bands to come up with fresh and original material from what seems to be a limited genre. Cat calls have been emerging from angered audiences over the past years while bands deciding to spread a message to a larger audience. With so much give from the audience, many seem that the take of a band's rise to popularity is too much. What the Pioneers!!! have done is put strong vocal demand on their audience to shut their mouths and open their ears. For their first full-length record, it's a ballsy move, and it's one that delivers.
The Pioneers hand us 11 songs that deal with the shit-talking crowds, negative drinking, and strong ideals about how the music scene can, and should be. One of the key moments on the LP is the aptly titled "Remember When It Meant Something," where Eric screams to the pensive audience, "Play with your hearts / Scream out your thoughts," which insights anyone with a guitar and a motive to pick up and play. That's what is beautiful about folk-punk: it's the every man's songs.
This record is overly exciting and fun to listen to, but it's not perfect. There are faults such as a few cracked vocals and a missed beat here and there, but it doesn't take away from the feel of it, it just makes it harder for some to appreciate. But what will add to your appreciation of the record is seeing them perform; Eric and Jeff are both in the right place at the right time with the right strive in their hearts. This is all about passion for them, and seeing the duo interact with each other and that evening's destination is what makes records like these appreciate in value.
I always get excited to hear from bands like O Pioneers!!!, especially when they are just starting out and they already sound good, but you know it's going to get better. The lyrics are going to strike harder, the drums are going to blast faster and the chords are going to sink deeper. Black Mambas is the beginning of an exciting and budding career showing signs only pointing up. There is love and passion and entertainment in these songs, and hopefully they will penetrate a legion of dissented kids who think music is dead, because it's alive, and it's moving.