Stabbed In Back/Payoff - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Stabbed In Back / Payoff

Split [7-inch] (2014)

Rad Girlfriend/Say-10/Felony R

Two great bands, Stabbed in Back from Albuquerque, New Mexico and Payoff from Southern California, put out this 4-song, split 7-inch in late 2014 and unfortunately it didn’t get as much attention as it deserved when it was released.

On the A-side, Stabbed in Back submitted two poppy, melodic punk songs called “A Theme to James Hall” and “Forever Premature.” When it comes to the song “A Theme to James Hall” its really more about the lyrics which are about a legendary partier: “Holy shit how did he do it?/ He snorted six grams and still slept/ Acts like there’s nothing to it.” Musically though, this song has a really catchy main guitar riff that is mostly hammer-ons. When the guitarists replay this main riff, a high-treble sounding keyboard accompanies them later in the song. The band ends this song with a great way to honor their fallen comrade. All of the vocalists yell “James! Hall! James! Hall!” to the beat.

The band Payoff features three members of The Bombpops, Jen Razavi on lead vocals and guitar, Neil Wayne on bass and back up vocals, and Josh Lewis on drums. If you are familiar with The Bombpops’ work, just know that Payoff has a lot more of a serious and darker sound compared to the The Bombpops’ lighter and super-poppy sound. Another difference is that Jen Razavi actually switches off with Payoff’s other guitarist and lead vocalist, Mike Lodevico, during their songs, which adds a very unique element to their sound that you don’t hear too often in punk bands today. You definitely hear this with both of the songs “Hell in a Handbasket” and especially in “Faceless Crowd.” ”Faceless Crowd” starts with this ominous intro that evolves into the lead guitar riff, which you later hear faintly follows the vocals in the chorus. About two-thirds of the way into this song the band goes into this dark instrumental bridge where you hear both Jen and Mike sing these haunting “woah’s.” This soon bleeds into where one guitar plays the main riff, while the other harmonizes with it. It’s a cool and unexpected way to break up this song especially when you listen to it for the first time.

Note to my fellow vinyl nerds:
250 copies of this 7-inch were pressed on black vinyl and another 250 were pressed on white vinyl.