The Impossibles - Return
Fueled By Ramen


Let me start out by saying that I went into hearing this record as a
long-time Impossibles fan, but I'll try to keep my personal biases out of
this review. For anyone who's heard the guys' first record, you know that the
Impossibles are primarily a power-pop/punk band. One might also consider them
"ska" because they sound pretty damn ska, except for the fact that they
don't use horns...basically up-tempo high hat beats with quick palm muted
guitar. Add horns, and the old Impossibles would have resembled Weezer
crossed with The Hippos. After the band released their second cd, a 5-song EP
(which included an alternate version of an album track), you could tell the
band was trying to get mileage out of what material they had left. Soon
after, the guys disbanded, spawning 2 new bands: Craig's "Cruiserweight" and
Rory's "The Stereo." Cruiserweight made a demo, and as far as I know, haven't
released so much as a split 7". (Email me if you want the demo). The Stereo
put out a kickass record, and soon Rory left the band (I've heard numerous
conflicting reasons) and started writing material for the all-new
Impossibles! 

This album marks the reunion of the band..and their "return" to kicking my ass with rock. Lets go song by song, shall we? In track one, we immediately feel that the band has become much more "rock"..more guitar driven, and absolutely ska-less. The remaining elements of their earlier material are evident in the multiple vocalists and yelled chorus lines (a la "fat boy"). Track 2 further demonstrates their deviation from straight pop-punk: An almost Dismemberment Plan-like drum fill and some heavier guitar, along with that patented Weezer "pre-verb" guitar squeal that we've come to love. The next track, "Connecticut" sounds basically like a Stereo song complete with (questionable) falsetto vocals. "Gone For Good" seems to show several strong influences. Among them, Stanton (Swedish pop-rockers) and Patrick Wilson. Pat's solo endeavor, The Special Goodness, contains a lot of the same 3-chord progressions and simple melodies...not to mention the vocal style. Somehow, these elements are surprisingly combined to make for one of the albums more impressive tracks. "This Is Fucking Tragic" builds from a quiet duet to some (dare I say emo?) heavier rock with more yelling & screaming. Woohoo. Track 6, "Intermission," really IS. It's a quiet melody, combining thoughtful vocal layering (Pinback would be proud) with light acoustic guitar, piano and organ. VERY nice. Track 7 gets back to business with The Impossibles' standard melodic chorus, infused with a good ol' "whoaooooooaooo!" Again, heavy, crunchy guitar. I dig Track 8, "Stand Up>FallDown>Get Crushed." It starts out like a drugged up American Football meets Modest Mouse, and turns into Small Brown Bike. This makes me think that in the few years since the last Impossibles record, the band aged maybe 10 years: Much more technical song writing (for pop-punk that is). Track 9 is a (Seaweed-ish) guitar-heavy instrumental - another thing I wouldn't have expected from the Impossibles of old. "Hey You Kids" suddenly reverts back a few years. Still Weezer-inspired punk, minus the ska. Humorously, they include a verse about At The Drive-In "kicking ass." Add The Impossibles to the mile long list of "hardcore" ATDI fans. Sheeesh. Track 11 sucks all around: music, lyrics, all just plain crap. They should've tossed it (except for the last 20 seconds, which suddenly goes acoustic). Track 12, "Stopping Sound," fucking rules. It's like Evelon covering Elliott Smith, a nice little drum machine beat, accoustic guitar, very subtle piano, and a beautiful melody. I like everything about it. I almost think that the band went all out and used Elliott Smith's exclusive twice-recorded vocal technique. Overall, the record was quite a surprise to me, but I DO like the direction the band is going with this. Well, that's it folks. A long review, yes. Should you buy the record? Yes. Do you value my opinion? Sadly..no.
...camm rowland...

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