Shooting Blanks - The Sticky Album (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Shooting Blanks

The Sticky Album (2004)


Shooting Blanks have been tearing around the Chicagoland area since 2001, promoting drinking and immaturity in whatever venues will have them. After a debut EP and one full-length, they return with a more mature sophomore effort.

But then again, the standards for "maturity" here are pretty low. Sure, they don't have songs called "Mindfuck" or "She Loves Me Cuz I Rock" anymore, but the lyrics still leave something to be desired. They read like a high school freshman's journal, or perhaps his poetry homework, despite these guys being in their late twenties (my guess from their pictures). Examples: "Every time you walk into the room, I see you - my heart goes boom" and "To say I'm bitter would just kind of be a lie, but there's a little bit of truth when I say I hope you die."

I'm sorry, but I really don't have much nice to say about this. I mean, it's standard sloppy pop-punk in the vein of old Blink-182 or maybe Guttermouth, but they sound like they're trying too hard to be gritty and just ending up sounding silly. The vocals are bad, and although they are not going for choir boy vocals of course, they are just irritating, falling somewhere between singing and talking most of the time. The music is good enough for what the style needs, but there is one thing: the guitar solos, which work their way into almost every song, are pretty bad. There seems to be an overanxious quality about them, where the basics are bypassed for an attempt at impressive tricks. There is always at least one note that is either out of key (or at least not a great note to land on with the underlying chord), and there are some funny sloppy attempts at tapping too.

Perhaps they were better being more immature, because then you know at least you're laughing with them. For example, my top track for the album would be "One Last Thing," in which he tells the girl who's rejecting him "So one last thing before we go our separate ways - why don't you go fuck yourself for me." And it's sung with a great hook, which makes it work more. "97 Miles" is also another okay tune here.

These guys work hard and they're havin' a good time so I say let them. Not my bag though.