Some Call Me the Poet - Come Summer
Record Label: None
Release Date: January 29, 2008
The music world has recently seen an upturn in the number of pop-punk-by-numbers bands, all trying to hop on the bandwagon and ride it to the big time. A number of these bands are laughably contrived; however, there are enough bands with the potential to put the energy back into pop-punk and rescue the genre from dance parties. Enter Some Call Me the Poet. On their self-released Come Summer, the CT foursome show promising signs of good things to come.
Some Call Me the Poet clearly love writing songs; you can tell because not one of the songs is under 3:30 in length. In fact, the album’s ten songs clock in at 50 minutes, which means the music better be worth the long songs. For the most part, it is. Standout “Take Care, Take Me with You” features blistering guitar leads and a catchy chorus that almost justify the fact that it’s five and a half minutes long. I say “almost” because between the fun parts—where the band is rocking out and the energy level is through the roof—there is plodding instrumental meandering that could probably be shortened drastically.
This seems to be the case throughout the album. “Resolutions” conjures Taking Back Sunday’s dual vocal lines toward the end, and strong traces of Northstar’s Polyanna-era pop-punk dominate the rest of the song. The problem? It’s over six minutes long, and there are obviously parts that could be omitted to streamline the song. That isn’t to say that every song is overdone; the title track clocks in at 3:42, and is probably the album’s most accessible song. The guitars play off one another very nicely, and again the aural acknowledgment of Northstar’s influence is present everywhere from the vocals to the instrumentation. Though lyrically not the best track on the album, “Come Summer” is proof that the band can construct concise pop songs that maintain the technicality and intricacy of their longer ditties.
Probably the biggest gripe I have with Come Summer is the production. Some Call Me the Poet are a band aiming for anthemic; it’s evident that’s the case from the way the songs are constructed. Sadly, the instruments are thin and fail to provide the proper support for Matt Talmage’s soaring vocals (think Nick Torres’ singing with Colin Ross’ slightly nasal edge. It takes a few listens, but the singing definitely grows on you). Production is to blame for some of the album’s most egregious missteps. “It Sets to the Left” finds the considerably talented Peter Holland-Recine’s lead guitar lines being buried in the mix, and the backing vocals suffer from being too far in the background to come across effectively. Similarly, “Crash Course in Compassion” features an excellent guitar solo. This is a barn-burning, face-melting, Guitar Hero-worthy solo that just doesn’t reach its full potential due to the muddy mixing. Watching the production trip up well-written songs is more painful than hearing the band overwrite and drag what could be excellent pop-punk numbers through the mud.
Some Call Me the Poet have put out a solid album with Come Summer. The ambitious songwriting is laced with the edginess, emotion, and excellence that made bands like Taking Back Sunday and Northstar successful. With more streamlined songs and stronger production, Some Call Me the Poet could become the next DIY pop-punk group to hit it big. For now, though, they’ve provided listeners with a solid album rife with potential.