Tony Sly – 12 Song Program
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: February 16, 2010
Tony Sly probably doesn’t need much of an introduction to people on this site. He’s already released many discs through Fat Wreck Chords, but this time the No Use For A Name front man is ditching the loud, distorted guitars for something softer. 12 Song Program is Sly’s first acoustic solo full-length and he proves he's capable of more than just playing pop-punk.
Back in December, the first taste of the record came when “The Shortest Pier” was posted and it’s a fitting example of what to expect. It’s retrospective and mellow, the tone and chorus depicting the lonely album art perfectly. The record closer “Fireball” is especially bittersweet and the way Sly sings the verses make it one of the album’s stronger tracks. It almost sounds as if he's actually in the room playing for you.
But that’s not to say there isn’t any fast-paced energy here. Some of the recognizable vibe from Acoustic, a split record with Lagwagon’s Joey Cape is present. “Second Act (End Credits)” is catchy and you can imagine it being played with a full band, much like you could when you listened to the stripped down version of the fist-pumping NUFAN tune “International You Day.” “Toaster in the Bathtub” is a cheesy song title, but it’s got an upbeat chorus and has some electric guitar underneath the strumming of acoustic chords and hand claps. He can still rock, even without a full band behind him.
Sly’s voice sounds as good as ever and he is responsible for most of the simple instrumentation, including the keyboard on tracks like “AM,” but he still gets some help. Karina Denike from ska-punk outfit Dance Hall Crashers never takes a solo, but she does contribute back-up vocals that blend in well with Sly’s on many of the tracks. The upbeat “Via Munich” features a violin and some accordion. Cape also sings a few lines of “Amends.”
At just a little over half an hour, Sly has created a nice collection of stripped down songs that’s actually a little shorter than some NUFAN records. If you’re looking for some great acoustic pop songs, or if you’re simply someone who has been anticipating this release since Acoustic came out, 12 Song Program doesn’t disappoint.
Great first review, Deborah -- glad to have a fellow punk enthusiast on board! I love this record. Probably gonna end up in my top 10. Tony is a fantastic songwriter, and this is the best work he's done in awhile. He hasn't been this good with NUFAN for some time (not to say they're bad or anything). It's focused and still different while keeping a nice intimacy to it all. Reminds me of Trever Keith's solo effort from a few years back.
Very nice! I haven't listened to NUFAN in so long since my old CDs of theirs didn't survive the transfer over to digital. I love all things acoustic and always really liked Tony, so I'm definitely picking this up when I get home.