The Busy Signals - The Busy Signals (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Busy Signals

The Busy Signals (2007)


Depending on your perspective, Chicago's the Busy Signals offer either substantial evidence for the existence of God, or indication that natural selection maintains continuity. The first Midwestern female-fronted pop-punk act to win over hearts from coast to coast and the folks at Dirtnap was St. Paul's Selby Tigers circa 1998. That band eventually kicked the bucket by the turn of the century, and out of neighboring Minneapolis sprung the Soviettes in 2001, who for five years kept the spirit of punk gender equality in practice alive while developing their own frenetic take on female-fronted pop-punk before calling it a day. Just like clockwork, in 2006 the Busy Signals erupted out of nowhere, rampaging across the country with unbridled power-pop-punk pizzazz from their home streets of Chicago to Portland, Oregon, the home of Dirtnap Records where yet another Midwest female-fronted pop-punk band found an outlet for release. So with the imminent demise of each band, a new one was already in place of the same traits and characteristics, but slightly stronger and faster than the last. Or to quote Leviticus 26:10 (NIV): "You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new."

Each of the Busy Signals cuts is snappy and concise, the longest topping out at 2:50 but most coming to a halt just past the 1:30 mark. Armed with buzzsaw guitars and sugar-sweet melodies, the band's ornery, ADHD-inspired songwriting is laced with nonchalant vocals and cantankerous titles like "So Pointless," "Got It All Wrong," and "Kiss and Tell." "Matter of Time" sprints forward with a catchy guitar lead and even catchier chorus, heavily bearing the mark of classic power-pop, though updated with a dancy, punk jolt. The album's standout is the singalong twister "Patterns," with a vocal melody that follows the lead guitars almost identically, without sounding uninspired, as is often the case with such techniques.

Straightforward, fast, and catchy-as-can-be, the Busy Signals have knocked out a winner in their self-titled debut, with equal parts punk rock and peeved power-pop that anyone can dig.