1208 - Turn Of The Screw (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Turn Of The Screw (2004)


The accepted punk method of insulting bands nowadays is far from clever. All it takes is for one person to make a fairly obvious point, use it in a negative context, and repeat it ad nauseum. Case in point is the "sounds like Pennywise" stigma that 1208's been stuck with. Not that it's an unwarranted comparison: 1208 was not only spawned from the Californian skate punk scene but Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge produced their previous record. However the urge to dwell on that connection has unfairly overshadowed what's become a tight and energetic band.

With the emphasis put on 1208's use of the mid 90s Epitaph sound, Turn of the Screw sounds surprisingly modern at times. The production's smoothed out many of the rough edges and songs like the album opening "My Loss" are clearly influenced by the recent trends in punk music. Alex Flynn's clean vocals sound far more comfortable in band's soaring melodic anthems then they to the more upbeat pop-punk songs. Musically Turn of the Screw is balanced between early Offspring and latter day Millencolin. While this was once an overcrowded playing field, it's increasingly rare to find young bands sticking with this style and that works to 1208's advantage.

I'm so tempted to chastise the band for a lack of vision. Generally they don't write the hooks needed to keep this style engaging. However the potential shown in the latter half of the album has me choosing my words wisely. "Not You" displays an increased level of angst set against a more muscular tune then the group's usual anthems. It's followed with "The Saint," a lush, acoustic, string-driven number. The album's capped with the infectious Descendents-influenced title track in which the band captures the fun and energy that made 90s skate punk so popular.

1208 may be doomed to live with comments like "this is alright, but there's potential," however that sentiment's true here. Turn of the Screw's not the most engaging record of it's genre but shows the budding seeds of something better.