GuFF - Engine Trouble (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Engine Trouble (2003)

Go Kart

I'm back again with GuFF already. I was not terribly excited to review this CD after their last EP, but when I put it in the first time as background music while I was on my computer, I forgot what I was listening to and it suddenly dawned on me. It was GuFF, and they sound A LOT better on this release. They are still the same band musically for the most part, but the recording is much better. The vocals sound stronger overall, and the harmonies are tighter. All the other instruments are cleaned up too, and the drums are a bit more crisp, making for a tighter sound.

Starting off with a Simpson's quote, "Man, that horse don't take no guff from nobody!" "Guff?!" "I mean sh-" before bursting into the first song, the CD gets points right off the bat. As far as the music is concerned, GuFF has remained true to their fast melodic punk sound (but I guess it would be tough to change with just 8 months or so between records). Ash, the lead vocalist, has improved quite a bit in that he doesn't sound as raspy and annoying while still keeping the grit I'm sure he is going for. Also, the lyrics aren't as obviously silly. They are nothing groundbreaking, just the "life's trials and tribulations" type stuff, but I didn't notice as many painful rhymes.

GuFF brought one song over from their previous effort, "Scars are Tough Too" and using it to compare, you can really tell the difference between the releases. Now, as far as a favorite track would go, I cannot pick because none stood out a lot for me. The whole album seemed solid and had hooks, energy and the expected pop-punk moments, and a few not-so- expected. For example, there are a few almost Thrice-sounding moments, such as in "Bottom Drop" with it's harmonized metal guitar licks. While these guys are maintaining their speed, this album seems to have more of those riffs and harder breakdowns. But I couldn't say what the best songs are because after the album was over I could not distinguish them.

To bookend the album with hilarity, there is a secret track with Ash's bloopers while recording the vocals, similar to the secret track on "Punk in Drublic." It's pretty damn funny.

GuFF is moving up in the ladder of pop punk bands because they have an edge with their speed and roughness. And with their DIY work ethic (guitarist Jay even did all the artwork for this and their previous disc) and their non-stop touring, this band should make their mark. They're just not incredibly memorable for me.