Side Walk Slam - Give Back (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Side Walk Slam

Give Back (2002)

Tooth & Nail

Years ago MxPx was the band that introduced me to the Tooth And Nail label, which nowadays has grown to one of the most productive labels around, releasing several albums almost every month. I'm not very familiar with their other bands but Midwestern poppunkers Side Walk Slam are surely worth checking out.

They previously released "Past Remains" which is said to be even more reminiscent to MxPx's music. Well, the rhythm section and vocals on this sophomore album surely reminded me of early MxPx stuff with pounding contra-tempo drumming and a bass that is more melodic than the average punk leadguitars. Also the use of tambourines in some of their choruses is really inviting to start tapping your feet. I'd like to hear from people who know their first release how the singer on that one sounded, because that guy has quit the band recently (he felt his marital duties were more important than his musical career, duh) and I can't believe he sounded better than Josiah's voice who now is doing vocals besides playing bass. Kinda strange if you ask me to step out of a band that is recording a new album, even more amazing when you know that he's written practically all songs on the album. Whatever, it sounds fine as it is now, with a new guitarplayer.

All through the album there isn't really a slow part. The entire disc is showing vitality and catchiness, nicely produced again by the guys at the Blasting Room (Stevenson/Egerton of All/Descendents). The only more or less negative remarks I could give are the somewhat redundant drum parts and the fact that these guys have some of their lyrics dedicated to the Lord again. (Luckily there wasn't a lyric sheet with this promo because I still can't cope with that Christian shit, and don't start another discussion about this please). But my final judgement is that this is a very nice effort in trying to make punk meet pop in a joyous way, the way I like them.

For the record, highlights are songs 2, 3, 8, 10 and 13.