Results tagged “The Frantics”

The Frantics: Downtown Delirium

The Frantics

Downtown Delirium
Mutant Pop, 1997

I don't know what happened to the Frantics between 1996's Playing Dumb and this EP, but whatever it was, wow. Whether another year together helped the band cohere into a tighter unit or if it's simply a matter of a finding a label stable enough to finance a higher-quality recording, Downtown Delirium marks a significant refinement in the band's sound. Speeding up the tempo, tightening the rhythm section, and adding a modicum of grit to the snot-drenched vocals would have made the decent songs on Playing Dumb sound better, but when these qualities are combined with the vastly improved songwriting on Downtown Delirium, you end up with one hell of a pop-punk disk.

Track Listing:

Track 1. "Stuck With Being the One to Hate." Although the twenty-plus seconds of audio clips with which the band introduces the song are on the gratuitous side, "Stuck With Being the One to Hate" is a solid, if unexceptional, opener.

Track 2. "Downtown Delirium." The title track is great. Fast, loud, and snotty enough to make you want to grab a few extra handkerchiefs before heading out the door.

Track 3. "Trina's on a Postcard." Backed by a hard staccato beat and punctuated by precisely-timed eh, eh ehs, Kevin Mac delivers one of the best vocal performances of his career: both gritty and adenoidal, his singing will make you want to belt out the words along with him - and take him to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

Track 4. "Slightly Modified Stick People." A bit on the heavier side, the disk's closing track is also its punkest. Play this loud.

The Frantics: Playing Dumb

The Frantics

Playing Dumb
Wedge Records, 1996

The Frantics (not to be confused with the Seattle band of the same name or the Frantix, the Denver-based hardcore outfit) were a fairly successful snotcore band during the latter half of the 1990s. On Playing Dumb, the band's second 7' EP, the Frantics churn out four solid tunes decrying petty high school behavior, celebrating trouble-making grade schoolers, and championing the sort of punk rock born of slackerdom that would make the band one of the subgenre's most consistently fun groups over the next five years. Nevertheless, with the exception of a few moments on "Gimme A Doller Inc." and the title track, there's not a whole lot of pogo-worthy music on this disk. While the band's trademark buzzy guitars and nasally vocals are out in full force, Playing Dumb pales in comparison to the band's subsequent release, 1997's thoroughly rocking Downtown Delirium. Still, for a bunch of kids barely out of high school, Playing Dumb is an admirable achievement that showcases the early development of one of the snottier pop-punk bands of the late nineties.

Although the mixing on Playing Dumb is somewhat uneven (Anthony Rampant's bass is almost lost on "Bad Little Boy," for instance, and Kevin Mac's vocals would benefit from a bit more volume at times), the record is good enough to dust off for a listen every once in a while.

Sobriquet Grade: 78 (C+).


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