Friday, April 27, 2012

Music Reviews: Dan Vapid & The Cheats/Jetty Boys Split

When The Methadones broke up in 2010 after a 10 year run, a dark cloud loomed over the Chicago punk scene. One of our cities most beloved bands was no more. Then out of the bands ashes came Dan Vapid & The Cheats, and all it seems is right with the world once again. Everything we loved about pop punk and power pop is all wrapped up in this neat little package. Now hot on the heels of the bands self titled debut full length is their 7" split with Sheboygan, WI trio Jetty Boys. The release has 2 songs by each band. And truth be told, 3 of the 4 songs are damn good!

Side A kicks off with The Cheats track "One More Chance". If I didn't know it, I wouldn't have guessed this was Dan Vapid singing at first. Not that this is a bad thing. With this band Dan is bringing different styles of singing and playing to the table, and that is what sets The Cheats apart from so many one dimensional bands. This track has a super catchy chorus with some great harmonizing by the band. The playing is clean and powerful, as you would expect from such a killer line-up of players. The second track is a cover of the Pointed Sticks tune "Part Of The Noise". Even though The Cheats write and play some of the best original songs, they also play a mean cover! This is gotta one of the BEST covers Dan has ever recorded. It's just a true gem of a track. Guitarist Mike Byrne, bassist Simon Lamb and drummer Mike Soucy are playing tight and are having fun along the way. Such a great bunch of musicians, these guys are probably my favorite Chicago band next to Naked Raygun. And THAT is not bad company to keep.

Side B is all about the Jetty Boys and their brand of Wisconsin punk rock. I've had the chance to see this band live, and the energy is there and so are the playing chops. But at times I felt that the band was a third rate Green Day clone. Now that was the one time I saw them, so I went into this split with an open mind and open ears. The first track "Not Even Close" kicks off with a truly infectious guitar riff that would make even the most seasoned punk rock vet wish they would have come up with this line. The song is really good with more catchy sing along lines and chorus. The playing is tight and the production top notch. After hearing this track I wanna go back and listen to the bands other material. I am very much impressed. Now onto track 2, "Jimmy". To say it's not the best track on this release would be nice. But, it IS only a 2 track release by this band, so I won't be too hard on them. It DOES have an early 90's Green Day feel to it complete with singer/guitarist Drew pulling off his best Billie Joe style of singing. Again, I don't wanna trash this band, since I did truly enjoy the first track. I just wanna hear more songs with a less GD feel to em. But all in all I was impressed by this bands sound and passion for playing high energy pop punk. And I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

4/5 stars

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