Conshafter - Fear the Underdog. (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Fear the Underdog. (2004)

Dork Epiphany

Tips for writing a song the kiddies will love:

  1. Put "hey's" in it, they are instantly singable and fist-pumpable.
  2. Put "ooo-ahh-ooo's" in it, they are also instantly singable.
  3. Add some handclaps so the crowd can do them live.
  4. Throw in a cheesy synthesizer bit at some point; kids are suckers for those these days.

Conshafter has all these things in the first track alone. Ugh, cheese overload. This band seems to be forcing things and trying too hard, with mixed results sonically. The Virginia foursome are producers and engineers in their own studio, allowing them to do this album completely DIY and not have it sound like shit; the album sounds great. But then they released on a poorly named record label- their own. But I digress… onto the songs.

Yes, the first track "Sleep When I'm Dead" has more "hey's" than Destruction by Definition all in one track, but it isn't all bad, with a Hives rip-off opening riff and an interesting tempo change in and out of the bridge, yet I prefer the mellower yet rocking second track "The Last Day in the Life of a Rocket Scientist." The chorus has a nice laid-back feel and some piano, and the chorus steps it up a notch. However, here and throughout the singer sounds like he is straining to sound gruff and the lyrics are just silly. Come to think of it, the lyrics are kind of strange through the whole album; they have potential to be funny but the band doesn't follow through or doesn't sell it. In a song called "Porn Star Mustache" about a guy being left by his girl for some greasy guy, there are mildly funny bits that just go wrong. "The lights go down in the disco / His hair is covered in Crisco", ok I chuckled there, but then, "And all I want to do is let my fist go / Or turn gay and move to San Francisco." Okay…

But the band is rocking decently between harder numbers and some medium-laidback numbers, then a musical misstep occurs at track 7. "Autopilot" for some reason is a faux-R&B tune with a fat drum machine beat and even record scratching. The song is not that bad, but it seems really weird with what came before it. The album ends on a low point with "Joey Ramone" a song about following your dreams… of music… or something. It's full of bad rhymes and "hey's" including "gabba gabba hey's" at the end. Oh boy. It doesn't work as a tribute or anything, it is just a bit awkward.

Conshafter is definitely trying, maybe a bit to hard, to rock to their full extent. The lyrics would be the biggest drawback, so they either need to get some better material or just go serious. But if they're having fun just do it I guess, but I don't think I'll be listening.