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Paint It Black - New Lexicon (Cover Artwork)

Paint It Black

Paint It Black: New LexiconNew Lexicon (2008)
Jade Tree Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

God bless Dan Yemin. The only real criticism that could be leveled against one of the most important and influential figures in modern hardcore is that his career hasn't been as diverse and groundbreaking as his most direct predecessor -- Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools.
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God bless Dan Yemin. The only real criticism that could be leveled against one of the most important and influential figures in modern hardcore is that his career hasn't been as diverse and groundbreaking as his most direct predecessor -- Walter Schreifels (Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand, Rival Schools, roughly 14 billion other projects). However, Yemin took a distinct guitar tone and style from Schreifels on Start Today, perfected and popularized it, and the punk rock copycats consequently came in droves.

And now, with the third full-length from Yemin's most aggressive unit yet, Paint It Black, he's actually attempting a mild reinvention of his own. The aforementioned guitar tone laid a rather strong foundation for some of Yemin's most impressive albums (Jersey's Best Dancers, both Kid Dynamite albums, Paradise). However, on New Lexicon Yemin's attempted a new foundation: not only a heavily bassy tone to his band's brand of classically styled hardcore, but a vibe that's even more unsettling with the tinge of industrial noise from co-producer Oktopus (of hip-hop duo Dälek). With a little assistance lent from a bass-boosting stereo, New Lexicon largely seems to achieve the former, and Oktopus's creepy atmosphere pinches tracks like "We Will Not," "Severance" and "White Kids Dying of Hunger," helping bring the latter to life. Granted, Lexicon doesn't always bear the throbbing low end Yemin's intended, but the album would probably be a bit overwhelming if it was always bellowing so much.

Clearly, Yemin's taste for underground hip-hop has affected his lyrics in a positive and striking way (he reviews such albums for a local Philadelphia zine). The influence is immediately stark, as it paints the initial lines of opener "The Ledge": "He says he wants to get better / but first he has to get a little sicker. / He holds his tongue like he holds his liquor. / Too young to call it quits. / Too old to settle for nostalgia, so he settles for this." His voice is as sincerely angry and outraged as he's been, too; you can practically feel the spit awkwardly hitting your face.

Musically, Paint It Black pull from both their albums for the usual half-hour rage. (Of course, it should be noted that the album does actually reach a half-hour this time around, but that's likely helped by Oktopus's interludes.) The raw fury of CVA is commonplace, but so is the shockingly melodic and upbeat twists and turns offered in "Past Tense, Future Perfect," or the absolutely raging and dynamic "White Kids Dying of Hunger." In "Past Tense," you never see the hopeful backup cry or eager guitar riff coming, and surprises like these are as pleasant as possible. There's a bone-chilling moment in "New Folk Song" where a "whooooa-uhh-ohhh" erupts, the climate changes and Yemin then earnestly growls "we don't know what we are / but we're sure of what we're not." A swelling nature in "The Beekeeper" changes directions at points thought to be impassable, with a riff oddly reminiscent of Modern Life Is War and Yemin coyly remarking "Out of step? Yeah, I know what that feels like" before the band burst out with the song's anthemic, closing climax: "Live fast, but don't die young. / Slow down, but never, ever, stop." Continuing the spirit of obvious `80s hardcore references, "Check Yr Math" seems to soundcheck "Rise Above" for a hot second.

New Lexicon doesn't quite hit as consistently hard as Paradise, nor can its best moments match up with the incredible anthems of the latter. Still, trying to dismiss New Lexicon as anything less than accomplished, dynamic and fully engaging is futile. Almost 20 years after a barefoot Dan Yemin began jumping around in basements with a guitar in hand and a "GO!" primed for encouragement, he's somehow produced another instant near-classic that really does attempt to expand hardcore's vocabulary in more ways than one.

Past Tense, Future Perfect

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We Will Not

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
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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.
jarrydg (July 13, 2009)

so good, gets better everytime i listen to it

nathanw (July 16, 2008)

This is hands down the best album of 2008. The lyrics are incredible, and the pictures in the booklet of parking lots and warehouses look even cooler in the vinyl. I gave it a 9 because of the headache I get after "Missionary Position". OW.

Grue (July 3, 2008)

Incredible album. Even the songs I didnt like at first have grown on me. Missionary Position is the best song, IMO.

walkingthewire (June 10, 2008)

ok for you peepz bitching about this cd, i wanna see you interweb mongrels get out side your basement and do something anywhere near as colossal as this. when you do that then you can bitch. also for the people bitching about dan being 30 years old and having beliefs in things that matter that just goes to show where you will be in 10 years when you've forgotten about the ''SCENE'' at least someone is writing intelligent shit and trying to make a difference. bet you cant say the same about yourself!!!

TR (April 10, 2008)

Best hardcore band around.

mikexdude (March 29, 2008)

I like this the best out of all PIB albums. I really dig the heavy/slow parts.

thomas7155 (March 22, 2008)

Score's for atheism AND organized religion, for the hatred and despair they both produce.

GlassPipeMurder (March 5, 2008)

Finally got it. I like the diversity of song structures but I don't feel it's as good as the others yet, especially lyrically... most "anti-God" stuff tends to rub me the wrong way and there's an excess of it here. I really dig "The Beekeeper" though.

cherrycolarain (February 24, 2008)

I love Paint It Black. I'm not that big on Yemin to be honest, I'd love this band even if Yemin had nothing to do with it... that said, this is getting ripped a lot harder than I expected. I thought more than half of these comments would be sure gushers of how utterly awesome Yemin/PIB or something shit like that.

Personally, songs like "The Beekeeper" and "New Folk Song" are enough reason to get this album. I think it's different from Paradise, but in a good way. I don't know which I like best yet.

AlmostPunkEnough (February 23, 2008)

i've noticed a patern with all the PiB albums, i fucking love them when they're on and in the first few weeks, even months, of their release. but as time passes i simply stop caring, and not cause i have an issue with any of it, just cause not one goddamn note ever sticks with me.

like Fuzzy said, i feel like i should like them so much more, but i just can't.

that being said, i still love the energy and emotion of this disc. and hell, who knows, maybe at the end of the year i'll still enjoy it as much as i do now. i've just learned not to expect taht from PiB.

(also, this is better than 'Paradise' but can't touch 'CVA'.)

masterpieceofshit (February 21, 2008)

This record is amazing, but why all of the hype about the lyrics being great? For someone who has a doctorate and has been on the planet longer than most of the people who listen to his music, the lyrics are typical and boring. They're not terrible, it's just that I keep hearing (or seeing) people go on about how clever Dan is.

These lyrics are mediocre at best.

Just thought someone should know...

inagreendase (February 21, 2008)

writethatbitch: It sounds like he could be referencing hardcore with the former.

writethatbitch (February 21, 2008)

so is Dan Yemin religious or not?
the lyrics on "We WIll Not" suggests that he has faith even when others shoot down religion...
So is it a crime to think that we've found something more sublime?
That we're somehow more alive?
That we're not just busy dying?
No coincidence, it's by design.


but then he also says on the album that he doesn't believe in God and on "White Kids..." he criticizes blind faith I think..
I wish I had your faith.
Maybe then I'd feel safe.


thoughts?

gritty (February 21, 2008)

You can save money and just buy one song on itunes for a dollar, then listen to it 15 times in a row to get the full effect of what the album sounds like.

Hey_Asshole (February 21, 2008)

ehhh...

i am pretty tired of everyone being on Yemin's cock. he is a guy who was/is in a bunch of bands, and the other people in said bands are just as important as him.

baseball (February 21, 2008)

Pretty good I guess. The music is intense, but I'm still bored to tears with his vocal delivery.

I just fail to see how any of PiB's albums (or this style) have much replay value at all. I guess hardcore just ain't my thing.

Not to get into this, but I don't see how this compares to Propagandhi. These songs structures and lyrics aren't even close to Potemkin. Although, that album was much more a grower than previous Prop stuff.

fallingupwards84 (February 21, 2008)

Patrick Ewing - how could you say a song like Nicaragua doesnt have amazing lyrics?

wallofyouth (February 21, 2008)

person below:

artists struggle with how to convey an idea all the time -- i think the crux of the problem is how do you keep people coming back for more?

if your delivery is apparent, explicit, and direct, you may find that folks say "okay, i get it" and move on without a second thought (see: any generic band you can think of).

if you approach things in a way that confuses, provokes, and raises questions, people might say "fuck this, i don't get it / i hate it" and, yes, move on without a second thought (see: any weird shit you ever decided you hated).

i always thought PiB's lyrics were a prime example of treading that line with enough poetry and mystery to intrigue but enough raw strength and plenty of hints toward a "point."

long story short i disagree with you but offer the above non-asshole response in hopes of changing your mind.

PatrickEwing (February 20, 2008)

Musically, I think this CD is fantastic minus the stupid electronic noise. Dan's voice is as fierce as ever and the melodies work incredibly well. My gripe with this disc is the same I had with Paradise. The lyrics. What made CVA so fantastic was how staight forward the lyrics were. The disc covered a ton of DIFFERENT topics you've never heard a band ever touch and it wasn't hidden behind creative language. It was there for everyone to read and understand. Paradise and New Lexicon everything is convoluted and the meaning is not nearly as straight forward. Honestly, I can't stand it. I'll listen to the CD and enjoy the overall product, but I can't get behind this lyrically. When Paint it Black starts writing songs like "CVA" and "The Insider" again, then their discs will be considered classics. Until then, they should be lucky to find their place on a top 30 of the year list.

victim (February 20, 2008)

i've had this for a couple weeks now and i can't say i'm that excited about it. i've never been all that stoked on PIB anyways. it's lyrically good and fast but it doesn't stick with me for too long. it's been done before just as well.

i want to like it because i like dan yemin, some of his past work (kid dynamite) and what he's doing but can't help feel it's all a bit contrived (as someone else mentioned). if i want to hear 30-something-year old vegan, atheist men rant about how shitty the world is, i'll listen to propagandhi who i feel do it more gracefully (not to mention with a sense of humor and better tunes).

there are some really solid tracks on this (ledge, past tense, white kids, shell game) and i'll support these guys if they ever tour out west but i cannot just say i love this because it contains all the ingredients of what should make a truly solid record. i dont personally think all the hype is warranted. i hope yemin keeps this up amidst all the other shit that's out there though!


Thanks you've really helped me clarify my own feelings on PiB although I think even in principle I like it a bit less than you might.

This seems like the kind of record that will be all over people's year end lists without remotely belonging there.

jamespastepunk (February 20, 2008)

Lyrics are good. Music's awesome. Vocal delivery gets annoying. It has to follow Paradise, so of course New Lexicon is overshadowed...

24HourPriapism (February 20, 2008)

also, i really like the photography in the booklet.

24HourPriapism (February 20, 2008)

the one-two of "we will not"/"past tense future perfect" and "white kids dying of hunger" are good stuff. "new folk song" is a beast too.

the "hip-hop" production isn't as prevalent as all the pre-release hype was making it seem. i was expecting loops and stuff, not just just some synth effects underneath the songs and the little interludes that veered closer to noise/ambient than straight hip-hop. i've only really heard one dalek track, off some sampler. and the interludes seem to fit that production style. really dark, heavily textured NOISE, rather than beats.

a lot of people have already commented that this is a great effort, but still not as good as Paradise. i'm inclined to agree with them. not to say that this isn't a decent album, with some great lyrics courtesy of dr. dan, and some fairly innovative production tricks, but Paradise was just that perfect marriage of Paint It Black's abrasiveness, and those great melodic hooks. this album is good, not great. certainly not a 9/10. i finally understand how respectable 3 1/2 stars can actually be.

MyChoice (February 20, 2008)

This album has been in my car day in and day out being played over and over for the past month.

Yet, I have not grown tired of how awesome each song is. PIB have outdone themselves by expanding but still being hardcore.

gritty (February 20, 2008)

This will make a good coaster.

danpib08 (February 20, 2008)

Dan Yemin is my hero and this CD fucking rules. Best Paint It Black record to date and Dan's second best CD behind Lifetime's "Jersey's Best Dancers".

inagreendase (February 20, 2008)

i'll listen to propagandhi who i feel do it more gracefully (not to mention with a sense of humor and better tunes).

Ugh, the last Prop album was the definition of mediocre. I can't remember a single beat from it.

i think it'd be safe to say that 90% of the albums reviewed on this website get a 7/10 or higher, which is ridiculous

Not that this hasn't been explained 50 times before, but of course you're going to get mostly positive reviews from a website that's largely user-driven: If someone's taking time out of their day to write a review of an album or concert (without pay), it's because of their own motivation. It's hard to be motivated to write a review of a shitty album, but inspiration comes easy when you like/love something.

fallingupwards84 (February 20, 2008)

For me, a 9/10 would be a classic without question. And a 10/10 would represent a record that influenced me on a fundamental level, and permanently altered or reaffirmed my deepest emotional outlook on a grand scale.

exactly, this site hands out very bloated scores... i think it'd be safe to say that 90% of the albums reviewed on this website get a 7/10 or higher, which is ridiculous

theblock (February 20, 2008)

this record is an instant fucking classic. anyone who doesn't agree is an asshole.

kevinh (February 20, 2008)

I'm wondering if maybe I'm the only human in the world who would give a 10/10 to maybe like 7 records ever. 9/10 would be a bit more prevalent, but I think even most of my favorite records that I listen to the most often would get 8/10.

I agree wholeheartedly with the poster who said that a 9/10 record should not be a "near-classic," nor should it have shortcomings when compared to other works by the same band. For me, a 9/10 would be a classic without question. And a 10/10 would represent a record that influenced me on a fundamental level, and permanently altered or reaffirmed my deepest emotional outlook on a grand scale.

Score is for the album. I still love it, but not as much as PiB's other stuff, so there's now way it goes higher than that (at least not by my rating standards).

the_problem_with_fire (February 20, 2008)

also wanted to say the album art and photography looks amazing but is very out of place on such an album. too clean and neat looking for what this is musically.

the_problem_with_fire (February 20, 2008)

i've had this for a couple weeks now and i can't say i'm that excited about it. i've never been all that stoked on PIB anyways. it's lyrically good and fast but it doesn't stick with me for too long. it's been done before just as well.

i want to like it because i like dan yemin, some of his past work (kid dynamite) and what he's doing but can't help feel it's all a bit contrived (as someone else mentioned). if i want to hear 30-something-year old vegan, atheist men rant about how shitty the world is, i'll listen to propagandhi who i feel do it more gracefully (not to mention with a sense of humor and better tunes).

there are some really solid tracks on this (ledge, past tense, white kids, shell game) and i'll support these guys if they ever tour out west but i cannot just say i love this because it contains all the ingredients of what should make a truly solid record. i dont personally think all the hype is warranted. i hope yemin keeps this up amidst all the other shit that's out there though!

xshoutoutx (February 19, 2008)

just because this isn't another paradise, doesn't mean it's not going to be on repeat for the next month, like it already has been for the prior month of January! fuckin awesome cd, and for all you bitches that post shit just to complain, 1) you're wrong, 2) you can burn in hell, ... and 3) YOU"RE STILL WRONG!

fuzzy (February 19, 2008)

To be fair I haven't listened to this yet, my promo is at my brother's apartment, that having been said...

Count me in the "meh" camp on PiB. I want to like them, I feel like I should, but I feel like they miss something, especially live. The worst part is Dan's chest thumping ape-walk on stage. It just seems staged and contrived in my eyes. Dan's a rad dude but I just can't wave the PiB flag live everyone else on the internets. Plus, I feel like a lot of the lyrics sounds incredibly trite coming out of the mouth of a man who's in his mid-to-late 30's and hangs a Psy. D on his wall.

Just my two cents.

inagreendase (February 19, 2008)

I don't have a problem with Homosexuality, but if you're going to suck his cock, go ahead and do it.

Isn't Dan a married man? And unfortunately, my heterosexuality probably prevents me from enjoying such an activity.

onegirlarmy (February 19, 2008)

So I'm reading the liner notes to this, and they credit Father Michael Patrick McKee for additional vocals. Did they get a priest to sing backups? That's pretty awesome.

hahahah nah, Mike McKee is the other vocalist of Armalite (besides Atom), and he was also in the Philly band Kill The Man Who Questions. he's not really a priest, though it would be kinda cool if he was.

Xithyl (February 19, 2008)

I could listen to people swooning over Dan Yemin all day. This review is spot on. Paint It Black is one of the best, and most overlooked, hardcore bands going in 2008.

skaboom (February 19, 2008)

So I'm reading the liner notes to this, and they credit Father Michael Patrick McKee for additional vocals. Did they get a priest to sing backups? That's pretty awesome.

ilikenothing (February 19, 2008)

total crap. kid dynamite is the only good thing yemin has ever done.

ashtraymonument (February 19, 2008)

absolutely fucking awesome

MattRamone (February 19, 2008)

"but if you're going to suck his cock, go ahead and do it."

Well, the fact that Yemin is the driving force behind the band and it's most visible and vocal member, it makes sense that a review of PiB would focus on him somewhat.

tl;dr save it for your photocopied 'zine and/or Scott Heisel.

thomas7155 (February 19, 2008)

Your entire review was just talking about Dan Yemin. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with Homosexuality, but if you're going to suck his cock, go ahead and do it.

BrandonSideleau (February 19, 2008)

I love this album and I can't stop listening to it. Both CVA and Paradise were amazing....but this is PIB's masterpiece and easily going to be one of the best albums of the year, if not the decade. There were about 4 songs on both Paradise and CVA that I could never stop listening to.....on this release there are at least 8.

Redscare (February 19, 2008)

"I see what you did there, Toby."

Glad someone appreciates my work!

video_cognito (February 19, 2008)

In a few short hours, I will have this CD in my hand after months of growing anticipation.

MattRamone (February 19, 2008)

"Maybe this person is African. I heard they were getting the interwebz out their now."

They have some internets in Africa now?

"Come on and take a free ride..."

I see what you did there, Toby.

Rastid (February 19, 2008)

great album, nice review

Dante3000 (February 19, 2008)

""Hahaha...what a dumbass. Everyone knows that's an old African proverb."

You're so right. All one of you knew it."

Maybe this person is African. I heard they were getting the interwebz out their now.

Redscare (February 19, 2008)

Come on and take a free ride...

damnitsderek (February 19, 2008)

"Hahaha...what a dumbass. Everyone knows that's an old African proverb."

You're so right. All one of you knew it.

MattRamone (February 19, 2008)

"Everyone knows that's an old African proverb"

Uh, okay. I guess it got popularized by the Nas song? I never heard it before Illmatic.

fallingupwards84 (February 19, 2008)

Everyone knows that's an old African proverb

Why yes, EVERYONE knows about old African proverbs. i mean, how could you not?

wallofyouth (February 19, 2008)

dunno if anything can top paradise, but this is pretty great.

i wonder if the interludes are unnecessary - the subtle production bits during the songs are more interesting and could be expanded upon... what if the interludes were more integrated? almost like oktopus was afraid to be TOO invasive with the music he was given, so he created these little compositions to prove his presence.

i still think paradise sounded better than CVA and honestly, the hip hop influence doesn't seem TOO much more apparent than on the other records; i think it's a case of placebo effect (he talked about it in interviews leading up to the album's release, so we're all looking for it). not that that's a bad thing, but let me just say i played it for my friend who loves wu-tang's 1st album (name-dropped by yemin pre-release) and he wondered what the hell i was talking about.

^ this is what you call nitpicking as i love this album.

suburbanxcore (February 19, 2008)

Unless D4 puts out something new, this is probably going to be my record of the year. I reviewed this and the release shows at http://gosleeveless.blogspot.com. Great band, great people, outrageous record.

R3vengeTherapy (February 19, 2008)

This album is incredible, just as the two before it were. Paradise is still my favorite though.

And anyone calling the new Polar Bear Club record a "masterpiece" is insane. It's a solid listen, but it's not as good as the EP and it just doesn't live up to the promise of the EP. I'd give it a 7/10, which is good in my book.

allon (February 19, 2008)

Good album all together, and I don't think I could ever completely dislike anything that Dr. Dan does, but some of these songs are just too long for my liking and kinda meander about. I just think it's annoying when you have a song going fast-fast-fast and then instead of ending like they would on CVA or Paradise, there's a noise outro or a mid-tempo romp that kills the rhythm. Oh well, it's still badass. Hats off to the doctor.

christian (February 19, 2008)

"explains why he must have jacked Nas' line "i know that sleep is the cousin of death" from NY State Of Mind"

Hahaha...what a dumbass. Everyone knows that's an old African proverb.

This album rips.

MattRamone (February 19, 2008)

"Shell Game Redux" is currently the most played track on my computer. That song rips my face off.

Icapped2pac (February 19, 2008)

""been listening to this constantly. i wonder; is there any other record to become album of the year? pretty hard to top this one ..."

Polar Bear Club. Their new cd is a masterpiece, 5 stars without a doubt. I know its VERY early in the year, but I just cant see anything topping "Sometimes Things Just Disappear". One of the best cds I've heard in years, no question."

I agree wholeheartedly, although I can see how some people (like Brian) might think the EP was better. I'd say the EP would be a 9.5, and Sometimes is a 10, so it's kinda hard to differentiate between two masterpieces.

I haven't been a PIB fan (I'm a little too pussy for most hardcore), but it sounds like I really need to give this a listen. I'm intrigued by Yemin being a hip-hop fan. Does anyone know if any of his reviews are online anywhere? I'd love to read some.

Also, great fucking review, Brian. I already have a great idea of what this sounds like and why everybody thinks it kicks so much ass just from reading this, and that's what the review is supposed to accomplish. One would almost think you get paid to do it. ;-)

skaboom (February 19, 2008)

This album is great. I'm glad they returned to the heavier bass tone from CVA. My favorite song from that album was Atticus Finch, and most of these song replicate that menacing growl from the low end. Combined with the more fleshed out song structures from Paradise, Lexicon pretty much has it all.

I don't think Shell Game Redux reaches quite the anthemic climax that was achieved with Memorial Day, but that minor fault aside, these songs are top notch.

inagreendase (February 19, 2008)

The Polar Bear Club album isn't as good as the EP. That's just fact.

That being said, it's pretty great and will probably be in my top 20. But 5 stars? Let's not say things we can't take back.

defianceohioequalslove (February 19, 2008)

"been listening to this constantly. i wonder; is there any other record to become album of the year? pretty hard to top this one ..."

Polar Bear Club. Their new cd is a masterpiece, 5 stars without a doubt. I know its VERY early in the year, but I just cant see anything topping "Sometimes Things Just Disappear". One of the best cds I've heard in years, no question.

Autosuggestion (February 19, 2008)

How about the only real criticism that could be leveled against one of the most important and influential figures in modern hardcore is that while he's an incredible guitarist, he's an absolutely boring singer... I really like all of the albums, but it's solely for the tremendous music. Anyone want to argue that Paradise wouldn't be ten times better if it was Shevchuk singing the exact same vocal parts instead of Dr. Dan?

paperthin (February 19, 2008)

been listening to this constantly. i wonder; is there any other record to become album of the year? pretty hard to top this one ...

llmp (February 19, 2008)

This album is pretty great, but I could do without the extended intro/outros to certain songs.

HonestAbe (February 19, 2008)

"i know that sleep is the cousin of death"

Nas didn't make that up, that's an old proverb

defianceohioequalslove (February 19, 2008)

First, let me say that this cd is FUCKING ANGRY. So badass.

Next, I don't know how clear this is going to come out, but here goes: What amazes me most about this band, is the fact that this band basically plays fast angry punk rock. Now, the vast majority of the bands in the world that play this type of music, get old after about 4 - 5 songs. But this is the 3rd PIB cd, and somehow it still sounds soooo fresh. It absolutely blows my mind that these guys can keep this style fresh and interesting. It's fucking nuts.

fallingupwards84 (February 19, 2008)

oh and 9/10 should be classic, not "near-classic" or not as good as previous albums, as the reviewer states

fallingupwards84 (February 19, 2008)

didnt know Yemin was into hip hop... explains why he must have jacked Nas' line "i know that sleep is the cousin of death" from NY State Of Mind

got this on preorder, so still waiting for it in the mail

GlassPipeMurder (February 19, 2008)

aww snap i need to get this. i was saving up for "John From Cincinatti" on DVD but now i know i have to get this ASAP.

AnotherBoringStory (February 19, 2008)

This album is totally insane in all the right ways.

dusticles (February 19, 2008)

Pretty much spot on. great review. The only thing that this record still has to prove to me is can it stand the "test of time" or "replay value?" Im not sure yet.

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