Spraynard - Funtitled
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Record Label: Asian Man Records
It’s appropriate that I’ve discovered Spraynard’s Funtitled during the same week that a brand-new version of NFL Blitz came out on the XBOX 360. The game is great – it’s different from the classic 2001 version that I grew up on throughout my formative years when I didn’t have such a big beard – but it’s more than adequate as a way to kill a couple of hours and reminisce on the nostalgia the series brings.
If the band is reading this, I feel as though they would appreciate me talking about video games right off the bat. In the standout second track off Funtitled, called “The Denver Broncos vs. The Denver Broncos,” which might just be an NFL Blitz reference in itself, vocalist Pat Graham yelps during the chorus, “Today I will prove that I am more than a collection of comic books or a high score on the screen / Today I will see just what I’m worth by walking out the door.” The earnest fashion in which Graham sings these lyrics and the rest of the songs on Funtitled should be enough to pique the interest of any 20-something fan of punk rock that grew up with Nintendo 64 rumble packs.
Spraynard is part of a pack of new punk/pop-punk groups that combine the thoughtful musicianship of Midwestern 90s emo with the D.I.Y. grit and attitude of independent community. Fans of Dikembe, Dads, and most of the Topshelf Records roster will identify with the band’s sound right away. Among the anthemic hooks, there is a little bit of Algernon Cadwallader-esque grungy indie rock, making the record as deep of a listen as it is a fun and easy one.
The highs on this record are rather high – “Little Green Ghouls” has a fantastic riff, while “We’re Pretty Nice Guys” and “Spooky, Scary” (excellent 30 Rock reference) have memorable choruses. In the latter song, the closing line of, “The only thing we’ll regret is not knowing what regret feels like” is another fantastic moment. However, the lyrics are more or less mediocre across the course of the record, with some points awarded for uniqueness. Much like his peers, Graham sings about his friends and everyday occurrences, but there is something of a running commentary on proving one’s self-worth through Funtitled’s 12 tracks. The positivity is not overwhelming and it doesn’t feel stale; it’s actually a refreshing change of pace from the self-deprecation and gloom-and-doom, tear-in-your-beer lyricism that have become a staple of the punk community.
Funtitled does have its noticeable shortcomings. Emphases can be placed on the “short” there. Only two songs surpass the 3-minute mark, which is more or less normal for a band of this ilk, but a few changes in song structure would have gone a long way here. One might like to see a few longer songs and some more work in the bridges, but that all more or less gets overlooked when the plain enjoyableness of the tracks shines through. The record flows very well as one holistic listen.
Spraynard is clearly on to something here. I’ve only listened to their first full-length, Cut & Paste, a handful of times, but Funtitled seems to be more or less the logical progression from that record. The band doesn’t need to change anything it’s doing; it’s doing it all the right way. They’ll just get better through time, maybe will get some better production quality, and will probably blow everyone away with their third LP.
7.5/10 - Very Good
It's 2012 and with the new year comes a new personal scoring system, that I actually just stole from Jeremy. Here is the outline of it[color=#333333]. I think it will help standardize my scores, mainly in regards to how the album in question stacks up to records similar to it and in the larger scheme of things, and should help stop the inflating of scores that I have to admit I am guilty of from time to time.
I've been getting into this a bit lately, I just need a bit more time with it. I'm pretty sure this is still available for free download, so if someone can post the link, I think you should include it with the other links at the end of the review.