Coming off their debut release, "Snapcase", on a small SoCal Christian Skate/Surf label, Bettie Rocket, last year Noggintoboggan followed it up with their second, "Your Days Are Numbered". The band was labeled by their label as "Infectious California pop-punk for fans of MxPx and Blink-182", and rightfully so, which first drew me to pick up their debut album and ultimately this one.
Noggintoboggan is a 3-piece band that draws most of their influences from the pop-punk they're surrounded by. Their first album tended to sound like they were labeled, an early MxPx or Blink, which wasn't half bad. On this record, the band polishes their sound to be more unique to themselves.
I'll give a close examine of the record song by song...
To The Castle - a good opener, nothing too catchy, but good nonetheless
The Hermit - a fairly decent song, easy to relate to, about sympathy
My Own Few Words - one of my favorites, "to have a better day doesn't take much / sometimes, it takes my own few words." great stuff and catchy
Sometimes You Wonder - a strange song, with an even stranger accapella harmony at the end
All Eyes - a shorter song, but decent
NogginToboggan3 - sequel to NT1 & 2 from their debut. basically about how they suck, gets annoying after extended listening
Stop To Think - song about thinking and not thinking, kinda insightful, one of the better tracks
Iron - a harder song, with strong extended harmonies, an OK song
Robots - another one of my favorites, about robots taking over the world and nobody noticing, I'd assume the robots represent ignorance or a similar social issue, "your days are numbered now / the robots have you on target / we need a hero here / before we're lost and they have won"
Random Christmas Song - just plain wacky, makes little sense, about X-mas, "Christmas time / all is well / Santa makes me wanna yell / it's 10 past 8 / food is great / i can't wait, it's getting late"
End of the Line - very good song about a 16 year old girl lost in her fears, on the serious side of things
Gutterpunk - harder and lots of yelling, back to good humor, longing to be a gutter punk with patches, chains, leather and glue
Greyman - the poor guy's lost his cat and misses it desperately
The Dark Ages - good song about being left in the dark, refreshingly wierd guitar line and sing-a-long melody
No Coment - another song about social issues, nothing special, *gasp* has reference to God
Silver Spoons - the lone girl infatuation song about having a dream about girl and meeting rejection, "I'm just a little boy / why you got to break my heart? / I know its been long / but its still left scars"
Tomorrows Gonna Hurt - another one of my favorites, peculiar intro, song about remembering the good times with an old friend, great chorus
Always - the closing song, capitalizes on Noggin's strengths, sing along melodies and strong harmony with a cool guitar line
All of the tracks on this album are written in a very similiar style that in many ways unique to them. Typically for a verse, the drums are driven at a fast tempo by Mike, and the guitar keeping up at equal pace, while the vocals are song slower or extended. If you're musically inclined, the guitar and drums will be playing eighth notes, for examples, and Jeff will sing the lyrics in half notes, making for a very interesting, but refreshing contrast. Often times, little guitar intros, licks, and riffs are added, but always contain an interestingly unique touch that makes them stand out. Typically, the choruses are slowed down and sung in harmony, and are often catchy. They're undoubtedly a pop-punk band, and in a crowded market for similar bands, they don't offer enough originality to make a strong identity. The lyrics are well written, and often deal with social issues, tending to be more insightful than most. The band has a great sense of humor and displays it throughout the record. Many song's silliness I can't do justice to. If you want some decent pop-punk, maybe with a Christian perspective, I'd recommend these guys. The play well together, the music is arranged ingeniously, and the overall sound is raw. If you want something new to jam to and are a fan of Fat Wreck bands, specifically NUFAN, or MxPx, I'd download a song and give these guys a listen.
October 30th, Noggintoboggan will be releasing their 3rd full-length, "Pleased to Melt You", also on Bettie Rocket