CPA - Whimsy (Cover Artwork)


Whimsy (2013)


I will start by saying I know next to nothing about this band and am unlikely to be able to offer any more objective insight than what one would be able to garner from a quick look at their Bandcamp page (even from their official website, I was unable to find what CPA stands for). What I will attempt to do, however, is articulate my opinion on the band's take on melodic punk rock. I believe this is the band's third effort, following an EP in 2006 and a full-length in 2011. They're undoubtedly an EpiFat inspired skatepunk/melodic punk band who draw inspiration from NOFX, Bad Religion and all the usual suspects with a sprinkling of the Offspring and Good Riddance.

Singer and guitarist Paul Teel is the driving force behind the music. The guitar work would struggle to be called virtuosic, but it complements the vocal led tracks well and the occasional flourish adds to the overall feel. The vocals themselves are what give this band the edge. The songs are dripping in melody, passion, restraint and unpredictability, yet engaging progression and thankfully, not a hint of discernible autotune (an annoying trait with many contemporary small and independent melodic punk bands). The lyrics, whilst not in danger of causing a revolution, are totally void of any immersion-breaking cheese which is all too common with skate punk bands.

The drumming and bass provide ample foundation to help prop up the singing, and the sporadic backing vocals are just enough to create a different tone, adding feeling when required without saturating the record with harmonies.

The fine line between over-production and lo-fi is often an elusive aspect to melodic punk: Make it too clean and you can totally remove any aggression, passion and character that give the music urgency (see Rise Against) but make it too unrefined and you lose the melodic nuances that make the subgenre what it is. CPA manage to hit very near the sweet spot with a clean finish that harks back to the '90s but sounds like it was recorded in the '10s.

Speaking of the '90s, the major criticism that would be levelled at this record is that it is a generic EpiFat clone. It would be difficult to construct an argument which totally refuted that point, but CPA live up to and probably exceed the level set by many EpiFat bands (past and present) on Whimsy.