Tumbledown - Tumbledown (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Tumbledown (2009)

End Sounds

Mike Herrera's Tumbledown project seems like a promising enough venture: straightforward, stripped-down country songs that provide a reasonable alibi to set aside the MxPx records and revel in Herrera's take on more down-home styles. However, the results seem half-baked and ironically pacified.

"Let's Drink" opens things up, and you can't say Herrera doesn't know how to write a song as catchy as anything MxPx has produced. "Let's drink, let's drink 'till we fall down" is repeated a bit ad nauseum, but it'll certainly stick. The question is, does Herrera really want us to drink with him until we fall down? Probably not, judging from the amount of sheer cheerfulness in his delivery. There's little substance there, and that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if the song was fun enough to make up for it, which it isn't quite.

A similar issue presents itself in "Came Here to Fight." You just can't take Herrera seriously when he says, "I came here to drink and I came here to fight / I'm all out of beer so let's take it outside." His nasal vocal delivery has always been a pleasantly flawed front for his songs, but his threats here are kind of laughable.

The musicianship is certainly competent enough, with Herrera backed by a trio on guitar, standup bass and percussion. But the constant shuffle and lack of major twang results in a lot of the songs merely coming off as Social D-peppered MxPx B-sides funneled through a slightly country-fried flair. Which are okay, one guesses, but maybe not quite what Herrera was going for. Certain tracks do manage to completely cut away, with Herrera's voice a bit more smokey and the music a little more ornate on "State Line."

The hidden track is actually a slightly alternate version of the entire album. I can't see it having much replay value, as the differences are few and far between. In fact, listening now, it's hard to pick out just what the band is actually doing different.

Tumbledown is pleasant and proficient enough, but it's definitely lacking some punch and needs a little more tinkering to have a little more of the spotlight outside of Herrera's main gig.

Homeward Bound