The Follow Ups - The Half Of It (Cover Artwork)

The Follow Ups

The Half Of It (2018)

No Affiliation Records

It was probably not their intention. But, when I listen to The Half Of It, the outstanding debut EP by The Follow Ups, I picture Ben Weasel and Joe Queer hanging out in Arnold’s with Richie Cunningham and The Fonz. Hailing from The Great White North, this four piece conjures up 8 sweet tracks that evoke sounds and images from every decade since the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

Right off the bat, the group pays homage to the heyday of punk rock with their opener “Heart On My Sleeve.” While the tune begins with a backbeat boot stomper a-la-The Ramones, it seamlessly moves to ‘90s style skate-punk via the verse. The song lacks a chorus, yet it doesn’t lack a sing-along , which comes at the end, set to the same rhythm as the intro.

Lyrically and sonically, many of the songs, either consciously or subconsciously, are a tribute to the perceived innocence of the 1950s. For example, “Krista’s Getting Married”, “Rock and Roll Show”, and “Tell Me You’ll Be Mine” tackle the age old battle of man’s quest to get the girl, a topic easily found in many doo wop songs. The latter song even adds a little “oooo-way-oooo” for a little more authenticity. In addition, 2-note guitar riffs reminiscent of Chuck Berry, are scattered throughout the EP, lending even more of that ‘50s sound to the tunes.

Other songs express a clear longing for what used to be. Specifically, “At The Drive-In” links the generations and is a song that will make baby boomers and gen-Xers nostalgic, though the boomers may balk at the musical delivery. In addition, “Monsters”, “The Half of It”, and “No Remedy” connect the decades once again showing appreciation for various influences ranging from the early pioneers to ‘90s Fat rock.

On the whole, this an outstanding release for No Affiliation Records. It is a refreshing listen with super catchy songs that spam all of the best parts of rock ‘n’ roll. The Half Of It takes on issues that are close to home, yet not too personal. And while the band is clearly influenced by various sounds throughout the years, The Follow Ups have released an album that is distinctive all on it’s own. Despite this, I’m willing to bet that at least one of the band members has thought about getting a Screeching Weasel tattoo at some point in their lives.