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splendid > reviews > 2/19/2004
Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!
Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!
Self-Titled
Polyvinyl


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "2nd Gun"

Buy me now
Boy, it's sure getting hard to come up with band names these days!! Musicians have to resort to weird stream-of-consciousness and punctuation just to get by!! Apparently this band is so excited that one exclamation point just isn't enough!!

I was going to try to write this whole review like that, and if Volcano, I'm Still Excited!!'s record hadn't been as good as it is, I might have actually done it (thank God their record's good). And like their name, Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! are unique. Their bouncily hummable tunes and tortured lyrics about girls might evoke thoughts of groups like Weezer, but these guys aren't nerd-rock clones. The group's musical suitcase includes Casio, guitar and double bass drum, with a fashionable absence of bass (which for once isn't missed at all). Keyboardist Mark Duplass made the switch from guitar due to tendonitis in his wrists, but there are all kinds of silver linings and blessings in disguise attached to his situation. Some songs make prominent use of his synths, like the organ-driven "In Green" or the ironically named "Goodbye, Casio", which has a signature tinny keyboard beat and layered sounds. On other tracks the synths hang back, accenting Craig Montoro's guitar-- but however little or much they're played, they always seem to do the right thing. Maybe effortless countermelodies and freshly written songs automatically happen when, as Duplass did, you go to school for composition. But somehow I doubt it.

Besides the jaunty synthetic ivories, VISE!! have a few more tricks up their thrift-store sleeves. The band's three members all sing. On several occasions ("Trunk of My Car", "Two Exclamation Points") they sing in rounds, which is amusing. But their more conventional lead/backup harmonies are so charming that it doesn't matter that they aren't always pitch-perfect. The lyrics range from confessions of vulnerability ("And even when you're sleeping next to me / All that I can think is you'll be gone tomorrow / And I'll miss you / And that shit hurts," from "2nd Gun") to snort-milk-out-your-nose funny non sequiturs ("Where's my cellphone?" operatically sung in "Byron's 24th Christmas"), but they're always interesting and cleverly written. Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! are relatively unknown now, but their catchy songs and charm will likely change all that. As for their weird name, well... I guess talent is the best defense against ridicule.



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