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Roll the Tanks - Suffer City (Cover Artwork)

Roll the Tanks

Roll the Tanks: Suffer CitySuffer City (2008)
Intelligent Noise

Reviewer Rating: 3


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

First impressions aren't nearly as important as everyone makes them out to be. If they were, I would be much more smitten over this album than I actually am. And even though (spoiler alert) it's not bad, my initial enthusiasm faded quickly. With a pretty good band name, cool CD booklet artwork, a.
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First impressions aren't nearly as important as everyone makes them out to be. If they were, I would be much more smitten over this album than I actually am. And even though (spoiler alert) it's not bad, my initial enthusiasm faded quickly.

With a pretty good band name, cool CD booklet artwork, a clever title take on David Bowie's "Suffragette City" and a good introductory song chosen randomly by the "shuffle" option on my CD player, this disc seemed to have a lot going for it. But by the end of the cycle, I found myself not only less impressed with Roll the Tanks -- I couldn't even find the first song I really liked again! Either I was hyping up my own enjoyment, or the rest of the album's patchiness washed away the early delight.

Based on re-listens, I would have to guess it was either "Police Me," a catchy mid-tempo power-popper of threats to "Crash down on your Crown Vic," or "Defense Mecca," a choppy garage tune that must have been the one I liked because I remember muttering something to myself about the Briefs with an emo singer. And that's exactly what some of the better songs come across as. Well, maybe not an emo singer, but whoever is singing (which is hard to tell since all the members are listed with respective instruments rather than vocals in the booklet) puts an unwelcome melodramatic sheen on every word in every line of every song. Case in point is "Gameshow Love," which sandwhiches a charming intro and outro melody and great musical composition with an "iraaaaaaaational"-ly drawn out vocal delivery. Then there's the dusty twang of "Loaded Gun," which is also kind of catchy in some parts, but the repetitive chorus and vocals that keep reminding me of the Pink Spiders and the Matches nearly kill it.

But enough with the heavy-handed slander. There are some good songs on Suffer City and Roll the Tanks definitely know what they're doing. "Look at Me" is a manic, bluesy screamer with the promise "In time we'll reach up with a firm grip / See how strong his neck is / Bring him down to Earth for the Armageddon picnic" and "Blood Flow" is an infectious foot-tapper anchored by a fairly strong chorus. The main problem tracks are the wispy Spaghetti-Western-meets-Shins numbers like "Saddle Up," "Loaded Gun," and "Bonnie Brae," which aren't even unlistenable -- they just disrupt the flow and add some cringe where there otherwise might be none.

Suffer City is a fairly enjoyable, though sometimes mildly obnoxious debut that has the potential to get Roll the Tanks big. It has the pop appeal you would expect from a band punning David Bowie and the energetic kick to satisfy the rest of us. And fortunately for all parties, Roll the Tanks have nothing in common with their last.fm "similar artists" of "K'naan Ft. Kirk Hammet, Jonathan Davis of Korn Ft. Jim Root of Slipknot, and M.I.A. Ft. Jay-Z", though the latter may have been kind of cool.

 

 
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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.
mikexdude (May 4, 2009)

TheKidssuck:

All albums should be reviewed individually; if the reviewer chose to listen to this in a different order, then that's part of his assessment -- it can be listened to in any order. The great thing about this "art" thing you're talking about, is that there is no wrong or right... and it's the same with the art of "listening."

GlassPipeMurder is one of the best writers on this site and has proven to have a passion for music beyond most people on here; he is overqualified to review music.

brown (May 4, 2009)

sorry blackjaw, not you. thekidssuck.

brown (May 4, 2009)

Score is for how much of a twat the kid below me is.

Obvious troll can go fuck him/herself

Blackjaw_x (May 4, 2009)

In all honesty, this particular album wouldn't be very affected if it had a different order. I can see it seeming that way if you're used to the actual order, but hearing a version in another order the first time wouldn't give you a much different experience. Plus, he explained how it happened - the stereo was already on shuffle.

However, the one problem I do see with him being a reviewer is that he doesn't have a good enough ear for music to be able to 'find the first song he heard' again. I will let it slide though. :)

TheKidsSuck (May 4, 2009)

Yeah, you should be fired from volunteering then.

I'm putting too much emphasis on the order?

You should not be reviewing albums, you have no idea what you are doing and you have no respect for music or the artists who create it.

GlassPipeMurder (May 2, 2009)

Fire this reviewer.

Hey genius, a) you can't fire someone who volunteers their time, b) notice I didn't say "I inserted the CD and pressed shuffle." The CD player was ON shuffle when it started playing, hence not being immediately able to find the song again. No one would purposefully shuffle a CD the first time they heard it, 3) still, you WAY over-emphasize the order. Sure, Tommy might sound a bit awkward if it's not played in the chosen order, but for an album like this (or Dookie) it makes absolutely no difference if you're going to listen to it again.

TheKidsSuck (May 2, 2009)

What kind of reviewer puts the album to be reviewed on "SHUFFLE"? Are you some kind of an idiot? Would you put on a record and then pick the needle up back and forth? You disrupt the entire flow and direction of the record which is DETERMINED by the first song.

Imagine if Green Day's "Dookie" started with ANY OTHER song besides "Burnout". It would not have been the same at ALL.

Fire this reviewer.

GlassPipeMurder (May 2, 2009)

i'd think listening on shuffle would also disrupt the flow?

not the flow of the tracks, the flow of the music, man.

in the famous words of Bub Rub and Lil Sis, "aint no trippin off the flow"

petehustles (May 2, 2009)

This album is the reason I no longer punch my sisters. Every review I've read of this record the reviewer seems severely conflicted. People are terrified to like this band so they're doing something right. Also a great jogging record.

Blackjaw_x (May 2, 2009)

"Bands of this style"

...Punk rock n' roll?

xIxKilledxJesusx (May 2, 2009)

much better than 3 stars.. i dont like bands of this style but they do it very well.

wallofyouth (May 2, 2009)

i'd think listening on shuffle would also disrupt the flow?

chipdouglas (May 2, 2009)

despite disrupting the flow--you have to give them credit for trying out a string section on a debut record. Definitely tell who their influences are but they come with an original angle...

Blackjaw_x (May 2, 2009)

Really fun to listen to when walking around town.

8/10 from me.

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