Florence and Libby / Kids / We Were Skeletons / Paxton - Split [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Florence and Libby / Kids / We Were Skeletons / Paxton

Split [12-inch] (2012)

Chumpire Records / Square of Opposition / I Heard You Hate Caskets

At first, this split seems like a really cool idea. Four bands and three labels chipped in to bring 16 tracks of Pennsylvania underground rock, ranging from punk to indie, and in the process pay tribute to the Lehigh Valley's scene. Throw in a bunch of stickers and a zine entitled A Young Scout's Field Guide to Penn's Woods Hardcore, and the whole thing looks mighty promising.

That hope pays off about 50 percent of the time.

Florence & Libby deliver the first five tracks of the split, and if I hadn't already listened to the rest of the record, I would've sworn my copy was warped. Instead, it turns out that F&L's song are just really, really badly recorded. I think the group is going for a punkier take on early Modest Mouse, but the quality is so terrible it's hard to tell. What initially seemed like generosity proves to be a curse, as F&L's tracks drag. Kids are even more generous at seven songs, but they don't make much of an impression. The first side is a chore, but Square of Opposition has put out some solid records lately, so I persevered.

We Were Skeletons and Paxton finally paid off that good faith. WWS comes off like a bunch of slackers with only two songs, but "Moleman Punched a Cop" and "Weekend at Moleman's Pt. 2" are two quick shots of hardcore that are sorely needed at this point in the listening experience. Paxton is the best band overall, however. Four tunes of punkish indie rock/indie rock-esque punk. Any question of whether or not these guys know how to up the punk is allayed once the gang vox that dominate the outro to "My Fallback Career as a Profressional Wrestling Referee" kick in.

Unfortunately, while We Were Skeletons and Paxton deliver some tasty tunes, they can't compensate for that truly abysmal first side. Both quantitatively and qualitatively, this split sucks too much and too often.