Scream Hello

Everything Is Always Still Happening

Written by: TL on 19/01/2009 23:52:23

I guess it was inevitable. Filling up my spare time between the first releases of 09 by picking up things we missed in 08 was probably always destined to yield an album that would make me bang my head against the wall for not discovering it in time for it to be include as a "Lasting Album" in the "08 in Music" article. That album for me is "Everything Is Always Still Happening", the sophomore from New Brunswick, NJ-based Scream Hello, and if you know what's good for you, strap in for review of it that's going to be well worth its weight in name-dropping.

You see, the most immediately accurate way to present Scream Hello is for me to direct your thoughts to the sound of Moneen, or maybe to be more contemporary, to ask you to imagine Polar Bear Club with cleaner vocals. That gives you a pointer, but what you really need to know is that record is the perfect marriage of all that's best in (post)punk and indie rock, and what's more is that Scream Hello even seem to know how good they are, as portrayed in their salute to the listener on track 2, "You Have Good Taste" and its chorus going "I've got what you're looking for!". It follows the opener "35 Plums" that is retardedly strong and empowering, mainly because of its signature electrifying riffage, the kind of which has not been heard since the early days of Jimmy Eat World.

Track 3, "Business Ethics" is stylistically a 50 second salute to punk rock that I wouldn't have been surprised to find on a NOFX album, as it explodes in your ears, delivers its message and disappears before you know what hit you. "The Kicker" is the most down tempo song on offer, at least in the beginning as it bursts into a hysterical and joyous climax as unpredictable as something you'd expect from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. "Bullet" then revisits punk rock, only now it's hardcore punk rock built around a more catchy riff and convincing vocal performance than most bands who thrive in that genre for entire albums can manage. "Golden Anniversary" presents itself as the catchiest track of the record, making me hope to God that this is not "maybe the last time we make this toast from under the stairs". I don't want to give the rest of the songs entirely away, but I'll hint that they include clever words about love ("Cocoon"), references to a physics project many may remember fondly from their grade school days ("Vinegar & Baking Soda"), a cheeky satirical existential discussion ("Everything Is Always Still Happening") and a shouted "Best! Summer! Of my life!" that's probably going to make you remember yours ("20/21").

What really makes "Everything Is Always Still Happening" as great and charming a record as it is though, is not the manner in which it manages to sound like a long and incredibly diverse list of great bands. Rather it is the manner in which it celebrates everything that was good about the golden days of 'real' indie rock, manages to make you happy and sadly nostalgic at the same time, and makes watching college movies and complaining about the current state of the music industry seem like good ideas. For anyone who ever shed a tear for all those bands located between indie, punk and emocore that the mainstream forgot about, this may just be what it probably is for me, namely the best album we missed in 2008.


Download: 35 Plums, Golden Anniversary, Vinegar & Baking Soda, 20/21
For The Fans Of: Moneen, Polar Bear Club, Dillinger Four, pre-Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, The Maple State

Release Date 06.10.2008
Red Leader

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