The 101 - The 101 (Cover Artwork)

The 101

The 101 (2004)

Self Starter Foundation

Sometimes you just know it's going to be good.

Having been totally in love with Christie Front Drive, one of the original bands of what I guess people used to consider emo, and to a lesser extent Antarctica, I was thrilled to find out that Eric Richter, who fronted both of those bands, had a new band called the 101. And to cut to the chase, it's good. Really, really good.

The music is pretty far off from both Christie Front Drive and Antarctica. The songs here are much more upbeat than anything Eric Richter has put out before. The guitars jangle, the bass pumps, and everything just bounces along. Hooks and melodies just ooze from these five songs. There are even a couple of little breakdowns here and there, like in "Real." Granted, it's not the most original music, but it's damn catchy, and a welcome addition to the varied styles Richter has played.

Eric Richter sounds just as he did in Christie Front Drive, but with quite a bit of passion and energy in his voice. His delivery in "Psychotropic Love" and "6/8" especially stand out. He has some effects sprinkled on his voice but it's never anything too distracting. Lyrically, we have personal little ditties, but it's never overbearing lovey-dovey mush. Of course, it would have been helpful to have included the lyrics, but you can't win them all.

The production leaves a bit to be desired. The vocals just seem to be a bit too low in the mix, but on the plus side, the bass is very nicely audible. In addition to the less-than-stellar production, the EP is way too short. The five songs bounce by in less than twelve minutes. Just when you really get into it, it's over. Luckily, the 101 already has their debut full-length out and ready to rock.

Without a doubt, Eric Richter has again brought us audio gold. With these five songs, we get a good taste of what the 101 has to offer. If their 2005 full-length Green Street fixes the minor production problems and stays on the same track as this EP, then the 101 could become a major force of upbeat pop-rock.