Side Walk Slam - ...And We Drive (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Side Walk Slam

...And We Drive (2003)

Tooth & Nail

Indiana power-trio Side Walk Slam is very young, very now, and very good at what they do. Unfortunately, with youth comes inexperience, now isn't terribly interesting, and what they do is not very exciting. "...And We Drive", the latest offering from Josiah Curtis (vocals, bass), Neil Endicott (guitar, vocals), and Matt Jackson (drums) is nothing more than predictable pop-punk reared on the many faced teats of the mid-nineties pop-punk scene; yet another band that sounds like MxPx, Blink-182, and anything else that's painted in child-safe rock and roll fronted by limp-wristed vocals. It's a shame that so many bands from this scene are capable of playing their music extremely well but fail to make their music worth caring about or interesting in the first place. You want songs about relationships and fun? Just pick one from the pile. You want a band with a tight rhythm section that can play just shy of fast but never at slow? You want a record that lasts about a half-hour, nothing more, nothing less? I might as well blindly pick one for you from the bin. Side Walk Slam is a good band, I would never claim that they, nor any of their fellow scenesters, are bad musicians who play in horrible bands. But Side Walk Slam share the same pulse as every other young, talented, mid-west pop-punk band, and this is what makes them irrelevant, uninteresting, and anonymous in the world of rock and roll.

The drumming of Matt Jackson is the only highlight on this release, not to downplay Curtis and Endicott, but Jackson is what moves this record from beginning to end. On "Say Goodbye" his playing is fast, hard, accurate, it's everything one would ask for from a drummer. Instead of feeding off of his energy, however, the melody is slow, drawn out, and showcases sophomoric lyrics such as, "You used me/Abused me/Sad to say we'll go our separate ways/Days will pass but time can't take away/All the pain caused today/Say goodbye now". It seems that taking a potential rocker and making it lame and played is the theme on the record, much to this reviewer's dismay. "Back to You" is practically the same song as "Say Goodbye"; same tempo, same great drumming, same impotent songwriting. "All this time I was yours you said you were mine/This I'll say to you/I won't come back now/Back to you". Yawn. As a style, punk rock (particularly pop-punk) is fairly limited and homogenous, so why work hard to be a cliche? With songs entitled "Letting Go", "One of a Kind", "Stand Alone", and "Forever Yours" Side Walk Slam's only achievement, as a band, is adding more water to the overflowing market of melodic punk. A true shame for this is a fairly talented power trio made of proficient musicians stunted by posing as songwriters.

My advice to Curtis, Endicott, and Jackson is to leave the random pictures of "friends" out of the insert, put away the MxPx records, forget about generic relationship tales, take time away from their scene, and start fresh in order to find their own voice. Wasted talent on worthless music is a pity, and this band has too much talent to piss away.