Avoid One Thing - Chopstick Bridge (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Avoid One Thing

Chopstick Bridge (2004)


I'm glad we're seeing further releases from Joe Gittleman's Avoid One Thing, as the band continues to exhibit the very down to earth rock n roll aesthetic from their debut on Chopstick Bridge. The band's formula hasn't changed much, as the focus is still on driving melodic punk rock, closer in influence to the New York / New Jersey variety than that from California. Of course that's a well tread path, but Avoid One Thing manages to do so in a very honest and likeable way.

The band has entered a phase that all side-projects go through when they come to the realization that they've become a full time band in their own right. It's a solidification process where the members outside of the band founder take a more active role in the creative process. That's clear to see here as guitarist Amy Griffin takes on a much larger share of the songwriting and vocals. While I don't think Avoid One Thing's fully taken advantage of the possibilities that come from having male and female lead vocals, there are some really promising steps in that direction here, "All That You've Heard" or "Capital Letters" in particular. With the tragic death of drummer Dave Karcich and the departure of Darkbuster guitarist Paul Delano, Gittleman and Griffin have really had to rebuild this band from the ground up.

There are some huge advances in song writing here from their debut. I love the sombre Replacements feel of "All That You've Heard." There's more than a few moments on the record that will evoke Pixies comparisons, "Next Stop Is The Last Stop" especially. Gittleman's vocals have a certain world-weary melancholy to them and he plays this card wisely on a number of songs. The majority of the album's material though is straight up melodic punk; while not always as distinctive as I'd hoped for it's executed well. The tracks are not as immediately hooky as those on the band's debut but they're better written in general.

Chopstick Bridge is Avoid One Thing's transitional record. It's their movement from a side-project, from the Bosstones' bassist's solo endeavour, to a new phase as a tight, focused power-trio. This is a good sophomore effort, but one that feels like a step towards something even better.

Chopstick Bridge E-Card
Avoid One Thing - Armbands and Braids (MP3)
Avoid One Thing - Chopstick Bridge (video)
For a limited time the entire record is streaming at SideOneDummy