Philmont - Oh Snap
Record Label: Forefront Records
Release Date: August 19, 2008
"Snorkhrrumphhhhhsnorkhrrrrruuuuumm mmpppphhhhhhhhhh(!)" says the rhino on Philmont's EP-before-the-LP/baby-spider-before-the-mother-tarantula Oh Snap, "I can't believe a beast as gorgeous as I am being used on the cover of yet another conformist power-pop album."
Unless you live in Billings, Montana (population: like, 100 including tourists), you already know what this EP sounds like. Power-pop/pop-punk aficionado flavor forces itself on trendy electronica and synths is the name of the lame, and it's a style already done by Eleventyseven, Love Me Electric and Mercy Mercedes (all of which are also second-generation poptronic bands, too). It is without a doubt catchy as can be, but then again, so is 3OH!3. Be blunt? Alright. This is flat out unoriginal and well-worn stuff.
I want to take a few steps back though before I criticize the band to coma. Forefront Records is a label aimed at appealing to the kids (which means appealing musically, buddy), and when you view Philmont through these specialized binoculars, they all of a sudden seem extraordinarily good. It's just like the Jonas Brothers; the JoBros aren't bad, they just appeal to a different market of fans the majority of us can't relate to. Philmont is far more mature than the latter however, and it wouldn't be hard to believe that they have some fans on this site.
Just get a load of the lyrics: "It's simply pathetic how photosynthetic / your life has become / Staring at the mirror plotting your next move / Finding new ways to improve / Just point and shoot / That's all you do / to help yourself feel free / Murder by photography," says "Photosynthetic."
And how about "Get to his chest, compress, his heart stopped beating / A breath, resuscitate some feeling / The ambulance will take over from here / Looking down on you in preparation / with mask and tools, this operation / Is your last chance to live so close your eyes / ss I'm putting you under," for a pop number such as "My Hippocratic Oath"? Sure, we see a lot of familiar motifs, but compare the lyrics as a whole to the lyrics of, say, We the Kings. In this respect, this stuff is solid for pop-punk.
"Oh Snap is fun and contagious." Yes, I can agree with this statement. Philmont has the alacrity required to forge an adroit power-pop record - no question, or all you like is post-rock. Unfortunately, so does almost everyone else right now, and when you use the exact same instruments and techniques as "everyone else," it can be impossible to claim your own niche in the scene. And if it's impossible for your band to claim your own niche in the scene, your band probably won't last long. Much of Oh Snap is spent wailing for musical evolution; one can only hope Philmont answers this cry with the upcoming big boss.