In a complete state of shock, I seriously just shit my pants.
How this site doesn't have a review of this release already is truly astonishing. Excuse me while I simultaneously attempt to write this review at 2:45 a.m. and wipe the shit up off my leg. I just feel so damn compelled to salute my complete adoration for this exceptional band, that I simply cannot help myself!
Where to begin? Red Forty was a pop-punk band akin to Jawbreaker, Samiam and other early `90s emo acts, only with the revered Ben Nichols from Lucero heading the endeavor. Formed in or around 1994, R-40 only lasted around two years and disbanded in `96. Fans of of Nichols, or Lucero in general, will certainly not be disappointed; however, this is very discrete from any of his more recent notable projects.
With less emphasis on lyrical content, R-40 really shines in their ability to just write raw heartfelt pop-punk. Successors to the ennobled Jawbreaker sound, R-40 unquestionbly did their homework, and even if they didn't produce a sound all their own, they certainly found their niche and ran with it as far as two years allows. Nichols is recognized for his scruffy vocals and poetic lyrics, and although both these fundamentals are presented within these songs, it's certainly apparent that this band was founded during a juncture of self-discovery and exploration for the young frontman. His voice in particular is different from the one most know.
As aforementioned, the fundamentals were there, but Nichols utilizes a much more, for lack of a better word, "emotional" tone to his quasi-scruffy-sounding voice within this band. The content of the lyrics, additionally, can be somewhat naive at times. In spite of all this, however, it remains that these are some of the most damn catchy songs I've ever heard. Every time I listen to tracks such as "Wish I Was a Racecar Driver" or "Cry at the Table," I find myself singing those choruses for the rest of the day. There's just no escaping it.
On a bit of a downside, and like most discographies, one finds themselves a little tired halfway through the saga. At 17 songs and almost an hour long, it is understandable that listeners will skip a few tracks here and there just to get to the deemed "better" ones.
All in all, this was simply an awesome band. In their short existence they created some really catchy and fun music. If you like Jawbreaker, this is a must. If you like `90s-esque "emo" music, these guys were champions of the sound. And if you like Lucero, I would still recommend this band. Although this is no alt-country endeavor, many of the faster Lucero songs can be paralleled to many of the songs found on this release. Red Forty fucking rocked, and this CD is a great addition for any punker's library.
"Wish I Was a Racecar Driver"
"Cry at the Table"