Album Review
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Tumbledown - Tumbledown Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.25
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.44
Musicianship 6.94
Lyrics 4.94
Production 6.25
Creativity 6.31
Lasting Value 4.5
Reviewer Tilt 5.13
Average: 58%
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Tumbledown - Tumbledown

Reviewed by: nick19 (06/15/09)
Mike Herrera's Tumbledown - Tumbledown
Record Label: End Sounds
Release Date: May 19, 2009

Mike Herrera is known for being the frontman of pop-punk band MxPx, but from the description of this new record, it would appear that he is stepping out of his comfort zone and attempting something entirely new: country. However, after a couple of spins through Tumbledown, it is clear that he is just as comfortable in this genre as he is in the pop-punk sphere.

Saying this record is country, though, is not entirely sufficient in describing it. Sure, it may be the best one-word answer for what exactly Herrera is trying to capture here, but in reality, the record blends his country influences of artists like Johnny Cash along with rockabilly aspects, acoustic pop, and of course “rock” to keep the beats frenetic and rowdy.

Right off the bat, the listener realizes that this record is, at the very least, lyrically different than Herrera’s work in MxPx, as the first words we hear are “Let’s drink, Let’s drink ‘til we fall down.” Obviously, this is a far cry from the more optimistic approach that numerous MxPx songs have in them. The tone of this record mainly revolves around dealing with the hard times by downing a beer, some of them in a melancholy tone (see “State Line”) and others in a raucous celebratory fashion in the good old country way (“Homeward Bound”).

While Herrera’s voice is unmistakable and immediately harkens images of MxPx, when the instrumentation kicks in, it is clear that Herrera is on a completely different track, a track that works exceptionally well. His bandmates (Jack Parker on lead guitar, Marshall Trotland on stand-up bass, and Harley Trotland on drums) supply a frantic beat and progression that propels the album’s first three tracks by in a whirlwind. “Let’s Drink” sets the tone for the record, as it is a fun and energetic cut that almost demands that the listener get up and move around. “Butcher of San Antone” keeps this energy but focuses on a topic that is not as fun. Or is it? “Butcher” revolves around the tale of an “assassin vigilante” who disposes of criminals who dare walk the streets alone at night. Not letting up at all in terms of pacing, “Break Out Of History” comes on next, with its subject matter revolving around how we need to act out against the “rats [who] get fat while good men die.” It’s definitely a rally cry to act out against the injustices of today, and have a beer or two afterwards to celebrate.

After the three uproarious opening tracks, the album slows down its tempo as Herrera reflects on feeling trapped and wanting to escape (“Movin’ On”), seeking comfort at the bar because of a lost love (“I’m Still Here”), and a somber reflection about passing on from this life (“State Line”). Herrera’s desire within these songs to drown his sorrows in a beer is something everyone can relate to when we reach the dark and trying times of our lives and want to search for the easy way out, with the musical accompaniment masterfully complimenting the mood established by the lyrics.

When “State Line” ends, Tumbledown brings back the rapid pacing for “Came Here to Fight,” a song about, you guessed it, bar fights! In it, Herrera sings “I’m all out of beer so let’s take it outside” while the rapid drum beats and twanging guitar melodies easily make this one a stand-out track. “Secondhand High” and “My Sweet Darling Dear” also keep the beats fast and energy high, soon followed by the album’s acoustic ballad “Son Of A Gun” (also featuring vocals from Jon Snodgrass). Sung from the viewpoint of a person retrospectively looking back on the life he’s led, this emotionally touching song features only vocals, acoustic guitar, and a slight string accompaniment.

Well, so far, Tumbledown have taken the listener through the ups-and-downs of life in their debut album, and with one track left, how will they end it? With a barn-burner! “Homeward Bound” is essentially an explosion after the preceding slow track. A song where every band member shines, especially Jack Parker in one of his many guitar solos on the record, it makes the listener want to put down that beer that he or she may have been holding from the beginning and just let loose with a hoe-down the likes of which has never been seen before. When this raucous track comes to a close, you hear shouts and beer mugs clanking together. It’s a true celebration, and a celebration that is absolutely deserved as we’ve just been taken on one wild ride that we won’t soon forget.

Herrera and company certainly make this effort stand out as each and every song is catchy and memorable enough to be stuck in the listener’s head not just for days, but for weeks to come. It is an album that goes by extremely fast and begs to be played again. Well, maybe it’s for this reason that after the hidden track (some studio fun with Jack on guitar), the whole record replays as a single 32:40 track on the physical copy of the CD. Whether this addition was an error or not, one thing is for sure: when this musical road trip reaches its end with “Homeward Bound” and the opening notes of “Let’s Drink” come back on, you should go find all of your friends and bring them along for the ride this time.

Recommended If You LikeOld 97's - Wreck Your Life

Displaying posts 1 - 10 of 10
12:02 AM on 06/24/09
promesas son sombras
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EchoPark's Avatar
well written review but this album is caca de perro.
08:21 AM on 06/24/09
Registered User
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Nap's Avatar
85% is too high for this album. Maybe a 70%.
08:47 AM on 06/24/09
There's just this thing about you..
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Brandao's Avatar
I'm guessing that means crap or something
that means Dog's' shit
09:15 AM on 06/24/09
I'm not used to this temptation
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golferpunk1's Avatar
Great review. Great album. Of course most on this site are too shallow to appreciate it for what it is.
09:35 AM on 06/24/09
the way of the fist.
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thecobrakais's Avatar
Great review. Great album. Of course most on this site are too shallow to appreciate it for what it is.
i'll agree with you there. look at the sheer amount of material mike has released over the years. hardly any other band out there even comes close to gaining my respect as much as mxpx does.
08:20 AM on 06/25/09
Scott Weber
Live Like a Legend
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Scott Weber's Avatar
Mxpx is my all time favorite band and have been really anticipating this record, but in all honestly this record just isn't very good. It's pretty shallow and the lyrics and songwriting leave a lot to be desired.
09:27 PM on 06/25/09
Registered User
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nick19's Avatar
Thanks golferpunk1 and EchoPark for the compliments about the review.
12:23 AM on 07/02/09
We're a band.
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remoteCONTROL's Avatar
Mxpx is my all time favorite band and have been really anticipating this record, but in all honestly this record just isn't very good. It's pretty shallow and the lyrics and songwriting leave a lot to be desired.
I'd be glad to give Arthur's full length an 85% without even listening to it first. The other 15% wouldn't be hard to earn. I'm still bumpin the live bootleg from some Riverside show that I got from Napster 10 years ago.
08:52 PM on 12/08/10
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
I had high hopes for a different side of Mike Herrera on this record, but unfortunately all the songs I heard just sound weak.
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