Zero to Sixty Never - Choose Your Own Adventure
Record Label: Lightning Before Records
Release Date: July 10, 2007; April 1, 2008 (reissue)
Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, Zero to Sixty Never have shown me what I missed about the indie pop punk genre. They bring crunchy drums and heartfelt lyrics to my ears. That's something that takes away some teen angst, if nothing else. With that said, however, their lyrics bounce back and forth between creative and heartfelt to cringe-worthy. While the album is certainly inconsistent, it's not necessarily a bad thing; their weird brand of inconsistency shows potential to polish and grow.
The album's opener, "Hey Gunslinger, Lets Make It a Headline" is the track that defines the album. While the lyrics start off well with lines like "You've got to run before you can hide," they slowly go downhill from there. Overall, the track is too long for its own good, clocking in at six-minutes long. The following track, "The Best Sellers Make the Best Sellouts" is one of my favorite tracks; the vocals sound great, and it is the catchiest song on the album (I'm a sucker for great hooks, but isn't everyone?). The lyrical content impresses throughout the song with lines like "A small town tragedy / Big city violent scene." The guitar work is also some of the most complicated on the album and is delivered with precision and power.
"Ring Ring Hang Up" starts with a guitar line that sounds a little too familiar, and the rest of the song is on-par with the opening as it becomes predictable and mildly generic, yet still very catchy. "Gateway Drugs" is a stripped-down acoustic track that trades between two vocalists. The lyrical content of this song is (unfortunately) mildly related to the title as the singer refers to himself as a "gateway drug." "Fuggehadaboudit" opens with guitars that are reminiscent of The Police's song "Message in a Bottle." After they leave the intro behind, the track turns into a Motion City Soundtrack-esque party with synthesizers and joyful-sounding guitars. When they move into the verses, the song quickly grows dull and leaves the listener longing for more of what initially began as a pleasing pop tune.
This album's biggest flaw is its production. While I understand it is hard to land Matt Squire, the production has to be better than this. A producer can't always be what makes an album great, but they add what makes the album something that you would want to listen to repeatedly. Hopefully for their next effort they can get a bigger budget and a better producer to amplify their promising sound.
This album has what every young band needs: potential. While Zero to Sixty Never's music is fairly generic, they add a little creativity that makes them slightly more appealing that the other 10,000 bands that are trying to jump into the pop punk trend at the moment.