The Measure [SA] - One Chapter in the Book: A Collection of Standard Waits and Measurements (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Measure [SA]

One Chapter in the Book: A Collection of Standard Waits and Measurements (2008)

Kiss of Death

In this revival of sorts that's been happening for the last few years in the pop-punk underground, the Measure [SA] have been one of the brightest spots to emerge from the hellishly hot basements of New Brunswick, New Jersey. After their full-length Historical Fiction was met with great acclaim from many in the community, the band continued to document their love and preference for vinyl releases with a slew of 7" singles, as well as splits with bands like O Pioneers!!!, Modern Machines and Off with Their Heads. A collector's dream to be sure, but for those who are either less inclined to peruse record store shelves to seek out these precious mementos, or who are simply late getting into the band, most of these songs have been compiled onto one convenient release, One Chapter in the Book: A Collection of Standard Waits and Measurements.

The songs on this release are not in chronological order and the whole shebang has been remastered, giving it the feel of a true full-length as opposed to a hastily thrown together hodgepodge of studio leftovers. Opener "Portland" has an undeniably strong hook anchored by an almost somber guitar riff, and Lauren Measure's vocals are awash with passion and conviction here. The band incorporates a healthy dose of twang in the brief "Countdown" as well as in the sweeping duet "Old Crow", and the true grit lying underneath the monstrous hook of "Union Pool" is reminiscent of a sound from days gone by, perfected on seminal records such as Zen Arcade and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy.

"Fourth of July" is another strong track with a folkish sensibility and anthemic arrangement, putting the Measure's diverse chops on display for all to admire. The sole previously unreleased track on One Chapter in the Book is "Big A's Space Jam," a song sung by Alex Wolff in a bombastic manner that's more distracting than effective. Though the Measure are indeed a band of many sounds and textures, I'm not sure I'm on board with this particular one.

The band quickly redeems themselves however, with the handclap-heavy "Hit the Ground Running" and the infectious "Sum of All Things." They also do a fine job covering the New Dress' "Murderous Bugs with Giant Needle Knives," adding a fair amount of twang and a lot more drums than the original. "Historical Fiction," which didn't make the record it was named after, is included here and it's one of the more lyrically vulnerable tracks of the collection: "So just put me on hold and I'll keep you on deck until you skip rent and I can evict you from my mind and take the advice of anyone sound, just good enough is just not worth my time."

There's a calculated sloppiness behind "Unreleased" that endears it to the listener, and segues nicely into the slightly cleaner "Means to an End," a song with an energetic chorus and a strong lead guitar part. Closing out One Chapter in the Book is "Another Protest Singer," originally by the Scarlet Letter. I'm unfamiliar with the original version but the Measure's rendition is enjoyable and charmingly disjointed in nature.

Collections like these usually have two purposes: They're made for fans who wish to have all these rare songs in one place, and to introduce new listeners to a band's sounds and ideas. One Chapter in The Book: A Collection of Standard Waits and Measurements would undoubtedly serve both of these purposes quite well, and as far as collections go, it's one of the more cohesive ones I've heard.