LaGrecia - On Parallels (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


On Parallels (2008)

Suburban Home

From his early days in Kid Dynamite to his later days fronting None More Black, Jason Shevchuk has, perhaps unwillingly, acquired a divine status among many in the punk community. From the message board trolls clamoring for a Kid Dynamite reunion to the dread many of those same people felt when None More Black initially disbanded, the dude's got quite the following. And whether Shevchuk likes it or not, his distinctive voice -- both aurally and lyrically -- make him the focal point of every project he's involved with. Think about it: Would Kid Dynamite have been anything more than a run-of-the-mill hardcore band without him? Would None More Black be anything more than a run-of-the-mill pop-punk band without him? This dominative habit continues with LaGrecia on what ends up being their sole release, On Parallels.

"None More Black, but slower" and "Kid Dynamite, but way slower" comparisons are too easy. But it's hard to deny that LaGrecia's sonic attack would have been well-served by being half a step faster. It almost sounds as if the band was consciously trying to sound different than anything else Shevchuk has done, and sometimes it comes off a tad forced.

That's not to say there aren't some gems to be found here. "According to My Notes" is enjoyable, "Filler" has some interesting guitar parts, the passion behind "In the Grass" is contagious, and "Two Shotguns" may be the first blues-core song I've ever heard.

But there's also a lot of mid-tempo stuff here that seemingly takes forever to end ("Manasses," "Can't Go Back to Daddy's"). Can't fault them for wanting to try something new, but with the exception of the dramatic "Silently Just," the attempts largely fall flat. It's a shame too, because Shevchuk's voice has never sounded better -- it's just the music backing him up that's, well, boring some of the time.

The musical gumbo LaGrecia has cooked up on On Parallels -- using power-pop, `90s emo and classic rock influences -- isn't terrible by any means, but it could've used more spices and some additional time on the stove.