The Feel Good Record of the Year (Fat Wreck)
by Tim Den
After reinventing themselves with Keep Them Confused and fully becoming the grown up’s pop punk band, No Use For A Name took some time off, looked back on their long and fruitful past with All the Best Songs, and settled into the second phase of their career. It seemed as if guitarist/vocalist Tony Sly had finally realized where his talents lie: Not with the kiddies or the fuck-arounds (Sum 41, NOFX), definitely not with the new breed of girl pants-wearing screamo prepubescents, but alongside Lagwagon and Useless ID as emotive songwriters immersed in classic pop mentality. And on the ironically titled The Feel Good Record of the Year, the quartet tries to expand upon Keep Them Confused‘s formula, diversifying their repertoire with acoustic songs, different tempos, and a beefier sonic punch (thanks to The Blasting Room). The result? Though not as successful as its predecessor, The Feel Good Record of the Year does a pretty good job of satisfying fans’ need for fast pop punk while introducing just the right amount of indie pop elements. Sly’s chord progressions and vocal turns still cling to their few tried-and-true tricks, but (as always) come up with enough fresh ideas to keep you interested. Opener “Biggest Lie” is perhaps the best combination of everything: Muscular riffing, urgent melody, blazingly appropriate solo, and a touching sense of melancholy. The rest of the record doesn’t quite live up to it, though, but it certainly doesn’t embarrass the band, either.
Many have accused No Use For A Name of releasing the same album over and over again. The Feel Good Record of the Year might not offer a complete rebuttal to such criticism, but it’s got plenty of likable, relatively new developments to appease the hopefuls.