Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start - Worst Band Name Ever (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Worst Band Name Ever (2007)


Owen divided by 2.5 = Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Now, granted, Mike Kinsella's solo endeavor went from recording songs that were typically five-to-six minutes long to finally producing a considerably economical effort with the 8-song, 38-minute At Home With last year; however, everyone's favorite band named after a legendary video game cheat takes that a step further. Up Up Down Down's first proper full-length in some time, the self-effacingly titled Worst Band Name Ever offers 10 completely down-to-earth, pleasant indie pop songs with a singer/songwriter mindset in a mere 22 minutes.

Worst Band Name Ever is over before you know it, but that doesn't mean there's some honest (if not totally vague) songwriting that'll go unnoticed. Up Up Down Down are definitely less lyrically morose than Kinsella, but they layer beautiful acoustics all the same while letting a constant stream of settling, hushed vocals flow over it all. In standout "Gas Station Hair," Up Up Down Down actually find enough time to fit in a type of chorus-type refrain ("You'll talk about boys with their gas station hair / But what you're forgetting is that we've got the wherewithal to choose or to not choose you too"). The most heart-wrenching line might be in "Maureen Kehoe": "And I am the number one fan of you getting married to him / So you can pull one on Uncle Sam." In "Christmas Eve 1993," Steve Poponi asks "Do you remember Christmas Eve 1993? / From my older brother I learned something about me I could not believe / I must sleep for it to leave," and that's the whole song -- one sudden thought that comes and goes.

And that's sort of Worst Band Name Ever's basic beauty. Songs come, make their point, and get out of the way. We're not talking `80s hardcore brevity here, but Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start certainly come close, holding the ability to craft a delicate, pretty pop song in a moment's notice. (And with an 18-track mix tape plus 40 previously recorded songs available with the full-length's purchase, there's plenty more material available.)

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The Red Loop

I'll Thank You Later