Noise By Numbers / The Magnificent - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Noise By Numbers / The Magnificent

Split [7-inch] (2011)

Drunken Sailor Records / Solid

What you have here with this split seven-inch, is a Trans-Atlantic match-up of two bands going head to head, slugging it out to see which country has dominance in the world of quality melodic punk rock. In the American corner you have Noise By Numbers, an outfit most notable to me for having Dan Schafer (Screeching Weasel/Riverdales alumni) in its ranks along with some players from a number of other known bands including the Bomb. In the corner representing the United Kingdom (not that united these days though) is the Magnificent, a three-piece with a name that automatically shows an element of self-belief and which, at the outset, is the known quantity to me in terms of musical output.

First up though is Noise By Numbers, opening with "Southgate House," and this tale of touring along with The Magnificent is a fine way to begin. There's a strong riff at the start with an impressive rhythm section behind it and the guitars sound perfect for this sort of music. Not content with throwing in some quality six strings as an opening shot, the smooth vocals of Schafer then swoop sweetly into place, adding hugely to the track which is immediately a winner with some obligatory sing-along moments. A strong beginning and "Lost Luggage" following on continues in the same vein albeit with a slightly more frenetic feel to it. Noise By Numbers certainly know how to write and perform catchy melodic punk, added to which they manage to include an '80s indie rock quality as well--in a good way! It will be hard for the Americans to be toppled, but then the Magnificent isn't known as a band of quitters either.

The retaliation commences convincingly with "Don't Send Me Flowers," and it's quite clear to see that the Magnificent are not fazed by the strong opposition, in fact they seem to revel in the challenge thrown down. With a slightly rougher vocal take on melodic punk, the Magnificent come up trumps with a memorable number, although it must be noted that this song does has some involvement from Jeff Dean (Noise By Numbers/The Bomb) and Jeff Pezzati (Naked Raygun/The Bomb), showing that perhaps this is less a competition and more a bringing together of two great (please note the hint of sarcasm) nations seeking world domination as one. The single ends with yet another classy song, "King of the Denim Jackets" (off the soon to be released album Bad Lucky), which only serves to enhance the Magnificent's reputation and doesn't stray from the formula in the other tracks on the record.

What is blatantly apparent is that there is nothing to choose between these two bands: both write good, punchy and melodic songs, laced with a catchiness that should lead you to turning this slab of vinyl over and over repeatedly (the record does come with a download code for any vinylphobes out there).

Result: with both bands bloodied but unbowed, the verdict is that the honours/honors (delete accordingly based on your preference) are even, which would ideally mean that a rematch might be needed at some stage. Well done to both bands and labels for facilitating this release and as a final note I love the cover to this record: for no other reason than it just looks so good.