Notches - High Speed Crimes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


High Speed Crimes (2016)

Young Modern Records

Being a broody New Hampshire boy who played 24 Hour Revenge Therapy over and over, Notches are right up my alley. This NH pop punk band's debut album should certainly give them at least regional buzz with their strong songwriting and playing, if not national. They may not be the next Joyce Manor yet but the ambition and willingness to experiment at least a little speaks for itself.

While the opening is just a minute long instrumental, "Cure For Feeling Cool" is kicks off everything as a borderline grand anthem of depression and resentment, including some neat "ooooh" harmonies in the refrain. And it works as a real introduction for the band's cruel vocals, strong rhythm section, and skilled, even fuzzy guitar playing. The songs fit in that template nicely, the kind of moody break up songs and twenty something angst that's been filling poorly ventilated basements for years.

But what makes Notches stand out from that crowd is their ability to fool around with their playing and see what emerges, like the slow unraveling near the end of "Mopey Dick" [sic] and the two part "Going Great/Approximately How: Far Away?" The best song of the album though and the most unexpected is the closing title track. "High Speed Crimes" emerges into a fun jam session (in a good way) as the riffs spin into borderline psychedelia, the bass tries hard to keep up, and the drums keep everything going as much as they can. High Speed Crimes isn't perfect but I'm quite curious to see where they go next.