None More Black - This Is Satire (Cover Artwork)

None More Black

This Is Satire (2006)

Fat Wreck Chords

Would it be unfair to label this as a "highly anticipated" album? I for one can say that after last year's Loud About Loathing EP and their standout track from the Rock Against Bush comp, None More Black had found their path. While I felt their previous album File Under Black was enjoyable as a poppy punk record, it seemed to lack cohesiveness. The band certainly made progress on the EP, and had a touch more aggression on the RAB track, so I should expect a solid album that flows well and hits hard, right? Well...maybe.

Before I say anything else, let me state that this album is "good." Not "great," not "exceptional," and (for the teenage readers) it doesn't "suck." It's just good.

From the get-go, you can just tell what to expect from this album. The opener "We Dance on the Ruins..." is a tight, poppy number, complete with "hey hey" backups, a half-time bridge, and a fading repeating pseudo-sing-along. Interestingly, the instrumental fade takes a good minute before ending, something NMB isn't really known for.

The next few tracks are traditional NMB mid-tempo pop-punk standards, "With the Transit Coat On" continuing the upbeat "hey hey" in the background. "Opinions and Assholes" serves as a break from the straight-up pop, as Jason's voice definitely leans towards a more aggressive tone, spouting "I'd like to spit it right at your face" before kicking back into the chorus. Following is the completely out of place, almost instrumental, super slow "I See London" that carries on for nearly four minutes. I can only imagine this serving as some type of intermission for the album.

"Who Crosses State Lines..." has a slight country-tinged sound, somewhat reminiscent of the `90s band the Refreshments (remember them?). The remainder of the album carries on as before, peppy punk tunes with Jason's trademark growl, highlighted by the fun number "You Suck, But Your Peanut Butter Is OK." I wasn't expecting the closing tune "Majestic," which is a true last song: slow, drawn out, building musically, ending dissonantly.

While None More Black may not have "progressed" musically from their first album (and Jason's lyrics are still hard for me to follow), they have certainly found a sound that they feel works best for them, as the similarity between most of the songs attests. Fans expecting a tougher sound or faster tempos will surely be disappointed, but what is left is a solid effort by a band that will surely garner new fans with their seemingly decided approach to songwriting.