(Tooth & Nail)
by Scott Hefflon
Man, more and more punks are showing their glam/pop metal roots like a bad dye job… The upside of it is that these kids can slither and sprint up and down a fretboard, and after almost a decade of mopey, introspective slackers, a brief electronic fascination, and a skip through bastardized trends such as ska and swing so quick it barely left a dent, it’s good to know the kids appreciate a good guitar lick. And can play and write melodic numbers that make you snap yer fingers and sing-along, not to mention pick up yer guitar and play along. Hell, even metal (nü metal, at least) doesn’t inspire anyone to wanna get any better at playing, so thank God for metal-influenced punk! Actually, that’s one of the downsides, at least in Hangnail’s case. At least for me…
While I’m all about today’s youth trying to be good people and taking care of this world we’re kinda stuck living in, I always feel kinda, I dunno, used when they start making it all about God. Like when you get into a conversation with a total stranger and you really hit it off, then they invite you to their church. I don’t wanna get off on a rant here, and I know they’re just trying to share the wealth or whatever, but I always feel that whatever connection that was made is now suspect, if not entirely bullshit. I always snap awake and think, “Shit, here I am going along with this person, thinking we’re all connecting and shit, and they coulda just been nodding on cue and saying what needed to be said until they could ‘pop the question.'” And they’re lucky if they don’t get popped for the deception. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate religious people or nuthin’, I just hate people who pretend to be your friend, pretend they know what yer saying, man, when all they really want is something outta you, just like everyone else. If you wanna invite me to church, just ask. Same as if you want change, or if you wanna quick, no-strings lay. Just fuckin’ ask. Don’t sneak up on people with this false friendship shit, cuz really all you’re doing is making people distrust the whole concept of helping your fellow man and wishing the best for him. And that’s some really cool shit. And people can be good people without having to call it God-like or whatever. Lead by example, inspire others to be good, and for me, leave the big G out of it. Please.
Back to Hangnail… There’s so much hard-rockin’ anthem/balladry going on behind the punkpop paces, it almost sounds like Dokken, though Stryper’s probably more accurate, huh? And before all the G stuff sunk in, I was really grooving on the musicianship and the really good intentions: maybe the lyrics aren’t so profound when quoted out of context, but the feeling of trying to do good is, well, good to hear. Catchy harmonies, plenty of whoa-whoas, jumpy and butt-shaking song structures, clear, emotive vocals (must be all that clean-living, huh? Sorry…), and riffs to love and learn when not leaping giddily about playing air guitar. Just be wary of them slippery lyrics, if such things are bothersome to you.