Having seen Schatzi’s name in various pop fests around
town here in Austin, I had a decent idea of what to expect
when I put this album on. I wasn’t too off. Pure pop punk
with sugarcoated riffs, pounding drums and start-stop melodies
dominate Fifty Reasons To Explode.
Originally from Oklahoma, Monte Williams (vocals and
guitar) and Chris Kyle (bass) moved to Austin a couple
of years ago. They were joined on drums by Mark Ford
soon after. Named after a band member’s grandmother’s late
daschund, Schatzi released their debut album in 1998, named
Joanie Loves Schatzi. They have released an EP since,
and in 2002, released their second full length, Fifty Reasons
The album starts with “Indivisible”, a fairly simple pop
song that isn’t close to being the best song on the album.
However, it is a preview of things to come. “Death Of The
Alphabet” brings to fore Schatzi’s power pop sensibility.
The Anniversary's Adrianne Verhoeven adds vocals
on a chorus that is easy on the ears and pounding drums provide
a great backdrop. Hard core fans of Schazti, if they exist
yet, would know this one from their previous EP of the same
name. In fact, on further research, I found that there are
4 songs from that EP on this record. The next couple of songs
disappoint as they fail to stir much emotion with commonplace
pop rock, but the band’s capabilities are obvious.
Next up, “Gladys’” simple chorus of: Gladys, you’re all
that I miss is fairly effective and very catchy. The best
songs on the CD are thrown here in the middle of the album.
“Trapped Inside A Sunray” starts with pounding drums,
a grooving bassline and a heavy guitar riff, and continues
to build into a more rocking sound heard again on the radio
friendly “Sucked Into Something”. The vocals have made their
impression by now, and Williams’ style definitely has (positive)
traces of Rivers Cuomo (Weezer) and Jon Davis
(Superdrag). By the time “The Spider Smells Disaster”
kicks in, the guitar pop soundscapes and introspective lyrics
are at their best, as Schatzi show their prowess in the ‘indie-pop’
genre. “Flush” returns to simple lyrics, and the chorus
of Flush the evidence down is hardly inspiring, but
there’s a Rentals-esque feel to the song that makes
it tolerable. Resounding start-stop guitar work on “Delta”
doesn’t save it from mediocrity while “Song for Stephanie”
would qualify as the ballad on the album. The last song kicks
off with still more power pop but slows down to end with the
lyric, I’ve got fifty reasons to explode. There is
also a bonus remix of “Death Of The Alphabet” after a couple
of minutes of emptiness that fits in well as a hidden track.
As a whole, Schatzi provide what they aim to: power pop with
crunching guitars and catchy tunes. Most fans of this genre
will find substance in this album. Critics might argue that
Fifty Reasons To Explode is recycled and mediocre but
the truth is that Schatzi do pull off what they intend to
and reasonably well for most of the album. Sure there is some
material on the album that’s not particularly inspirational;
however, there are enough original pop gems to appease and
excite those in the know.
- Death Of The Alphabet
- Bionic Waves
- Trapped Inside A Sunray
- We Might Collide
- Sucked Into Something
- The Spider Smells Disaster
- Song For Stephanie
- Guitars Vs. Humans
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