Hogwash - Sticker Paralysis (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Sticker Paralysis (2010)

Bells On

Paris, France's Hogwash provide pretty typical EpiFat rehash. With bands of this skatepunk variety, it usually comes down to a number of things that would make them worthwhile. That might be songwriting quality; production; originality; hooks; gimmickry; really, you gotta have something to turn out an interesting record. Hogwash has too few of these traits to make their sophomore full-length, Sticker Paralysis, thoroughly worthwhile.

From the opening forbidden beat of "This Is Not a Method (This Is a Provocation)", the band's influences are clear: This sounds like a more serious NOFX, though without necessarily sounding much like Bad Religion. Or maybe a more straightforward, melodic rock-inspired version of early No Use for a Name. There's Florian Caro's nasally, stunted vocal delivery; fast beats on every track; and a real musical "umph" to the way they go about this album.

Granted, the similarities seem to tone down as the album goes on, especially by the time Track 5, "Round One: Fight" comes through with its more tense structure and charring, stop-start riffs. But through most of the album, the dynamism and hooks just aren't there, with the band often falling flat in verse-chorus transitions and sticking to a fairly stagnant and resultingly boring tempo and mood.

There are some more interesting, upbeat tones to "Donna", and some subtle violins on "Paris Beach", and it's moments like those you wish the band would explore more. But these are only rarer glimpses of ambition on Sticker Paraylsis, and unfortunately not indicative of something greater the band could wield. "Simple Jack" (presumably referencing the fake Ben Stiller movie) has disappointingly nothing to do with the issues of political correctness or exploitation, but it is a cool, faster, more hardcore-esque jam I guess.

Sticker Paralysis is largely orthodox skatepunk. This isn't always a bad thing, but this album just feels banal and uninteresting. I would keep up with Hogwash if they really explored the few experimental tendencies here and found a way to amp up their songwriting some.

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