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splendid > reviews > 2/20/2003
Subincision
Subincision
Jingo
Substandard


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Shelley's Song"

Buy me now
Pop-punkers Subincision deal in addictive melodies, and don't often shy away from the opportunity to let loose with some "whoa-oh-oh" vocals a la Social Distortion ("1983 Teenage Car Crash," "Remnant"). Like many punk acts, the quartet sings of hackneyed subjects such as high school and the travails of coming of age ("Kill the Principal", "Endless Summer of our Love Together"). What sets the act apart from others is its keen sense of melody and harmony, both of which go a long way toward fleshing out the songs. "Shelley's Song" is the album's best -- a flawless execution of the band's basic formula, great vocal harmonies, handclaps and all.

The Berkeley, California-based act thoughtfully attempts to add dimension to its third full-length record with more traditional rock instrumentation than punk usually employs. Accomplished surf guitar licks dress up "Remnant", wacky synths and acoustic guitars accent the rocker "Theater Girl" and piano softens "When You Went Away". Even so, those flourishes and the consistently energetic performances aren't quite interesting enough to be above average. The final two songs, satires of the current war movement and a vulgar and empty-headed paean to media overexposure, are particularly weak. Still, fans of East Bay pogo might find Jingo worthy of attention. And damn it if those choruses don't just burrow into your head -- even after only a handful of listens.



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