The Ergs! - Upstairs/Downstairs (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Ergs!

Upstairs/Downstairs (2007)


The Ergs! are widely celebrated in the Ramonescore scene for their array of classic pop-punk influences and their own unique spin they put on it. Perhaps that praise will come to a moderate hold with Upstairs/Downstairs, their Dirtnap debut boasting another proud example of snotty vocals and bouncy goodness but yet feeling less captivating and accomplished as the band's earlier material.

What else is disappointing is that the band never quite parlay that jazz influence they're known for having into the tunes much at all. The complexity of a genre like that would make for an incredible juxtaposition in this context but the Ergs! never seem to quite make that ambitious attempt -- even though we know full well they're likely capable culprits.

That being said, Upstairs/Downstairs is no less a fun, four-across-the-floor(s) trip (ba-dum-tsh!). From urgent opener "Your Cheated Heart" to, well, the beginning of the closing title track (more on that later), creative moments are aplenty. "Fluorescent Stars" stands out merely for its little bit of tambourine usage, as does the power-pop flourish of "See Him Again." "Hysterical Fiction" even throws in a bit of a semi-jokey mosh/two-step/whatever part. "Stinking of Whiskey Blues" lays on the barroom-sobbing country twang. "Girls of the Market Square" has a slightly more toned down delivery and that mere aspect makes it one of the better Ergs! tracks to date -- and "Trouble in River City" makes for a solid followup to it.

Oh yeah, the title track itself is 18 minutes long, ending mostly instrumental with guitar effects and some random riffing over its generally stable pacing (with a couple random stoppages), not quite doing anything interesting enough to warrant repeat listening; in fact, it's a bit of a chore to get through.

Not quite what fans may have ached for, the Ergs! still turn in a fairly admirable performance on Upstairs/Downstairs. With so many releases in the stable and more on the way anyway, it should likely be made up for in EPs and splits alone.

2nd Foundation

Trouble in River City