Revisions - Revised Observations (Cover Artwork)


Revised Observations (2007)


If you were a religious reader of Maximum RockNRoll in 2003-2004, odds are you know about the Observers. The band put out quite possibly the best punk record of 2003: So What's Left Now. Some writers in that magazine have even called the Observers one of the greatest punk bands in history (I agree). There may be some truth in the always controversial statement, "All the best punk bands only put out one or two records." The break-up was relatively discrete and those are usually the most intense. I sort of doubt that all the members of the band are still friends. The bassist and drummer went onto form a band called Defect Defect. The guitarist went onto form a band called Clit Ripper. And Douglas Burns, the lead singer/songwriter, has finally come out of hiding with two new bands, Red Dons and Revisions. Red Dons (on Deranged Records) pretty much pick up where the Observers left off. Revisions flip the proverbial script.

The Revisions play an interesting genre of music. The band remakes punk songs that were written by Douglas Burns in his previous few bands. The sound is sort of acoustic punk, but many people would probably call the music indie. Three songs on the album ("Where I Stay," "Vagabond," and "On the Lam") have sort of an Egyptian/Middle Eastern type feel in my opinion.

Revised Observations, by the way, is produced by Pat Kearns, who has quite the resume (Exploding Hearts, Clorox Girls, the Observers).

The album starts off with "Lead Pill," which is fucking great -- it's one of the best Observers songs and it crosses over very well. The first line, "put down your fists and run, you won't need them here anymore, it's a futile fight that hurts no one else but yourself, it's hard to understand your logic" is perfect.

Next song, "Where I Stay," is also an Observers song. Revisions' version is great.

The first Speds song on the album is called "Breathe Again." This is my favorite song on the album: straight-up beautiful music.

"Useless Information" is the first original Revisions song on the album. The song is okay, but nothing special. I would like to hear a punk(er) version of the song.

One downfall on the album is the song "No Wars." There are two versions of this song available (the other on the On the Lam 7-inch), this being the weaker version. Here is just a cello and some singing. The lyrics are great, however: "No wars in the name of a god, there's no chance for redemption, through hypocrisy oppression, I bid farewell, 'cause I can't be part of the hatred that you spread. In church we spoke of love, and the life after, and how we'd reap rewards for faith in the divine, yet I was still forced out through social structures, the church was nothing like the man they idolized"; the lack of instruments is disappointing, though.

My second favorite song on the album is "Empty House." It is a great folk-indie type of song, with dark lyrics and catchy, great combination.

The album closes with my favorite Observers song (and maybe my favorite song by any band), "Walk Alone." While I dig the added piano in the song, Revisions version is disappointing because it is less energetic than the Observers version.

This review may read like I am disappointed in Revised Observations. I'm not. The album is really good and probably better than 95% of the albums released this year, but I just get sort of sad every time I think about what the Observers could have done for punk rock. Maybe I take punk rock too seriously.