First Class - Somewhere In The Grey (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

First Class

Somewhere In The Grey (2003)

Johanns Face

First Class, another pop-punk band rising out of the Chicago area suffers from what I'd like to call "Rufio-Syndrome." It's a disease sweeping the nation rapidly infecting all youngsters in its path. Make a stop at a show being played in your area and chances are you'll find a few people roaming around the venue who have been diagnosed – proceed with caution, it's very contagious! Symptoms are easy to pick on, read carefully and if you come across a tainted band, I suggest you do the right thing and seek help immediately.

The simplest way to tell if a person has been contaminated by the "Rufio-Syndrome" is that the band will come across as rather talented. Perfecting pop-punk musicianship that is known as the "Fat Sound" -- A plethora of catchy guitar riffs, quality bass rhythms to make things more interesting, all topped off with a rather talented drummer. Now nothing seems terrible so far, but the downfall is easily distinguishable. A few seconds into any song, just as a break down paves the way, a voice is heard. Not something macho or the slightest bit post-pubescent, just a child wailing his heart out (typically about a girl). The nasally and whiney vocals are what make this all too common disease fatal.

Hah, GOTCHA! There's not really a "Rufio-Syndrome," I know I had a lot of you on the edge of your seat! Although the previously mentioned formula for a pop-punk band occurs quite often these days, it isn't necessarily a problem, as there is obvious talent in the musician's characters. One listen to this unveiling of First Class will have you tapping your toes and bobbing your head to their engaging melodies, instantly hooked by songs that stick in your head for quite some time. Bad light is cast down when the vocals catch the airwaves. Between Andy here, Scott Sellers the singer for Rufio, and the countless other front men who croon in this style there's absolutely no difference in their sound or abilities. Not only is it boring mixed with too much redundancy, it's flat out annoying!

I'm serious, if this guy would step up and ditch the soft talk and bark with the tiniest bit of power and/or fury I'd really dig this EP. For the time being though, it's just another weeping clichéd pop-punk band with a mediocre record.