Artist vs Poet

Favorite Fix

Written by: DR on 14/03/2010 03:36:41

It's now March, which means that the British "summer" will be here in a few months, but I still need a pop punk album to become the soundtrack for those few days that actually exceed 30-degrees Celsius, therefore constituting a heat wave. Starting auditions are Artist vs Poet. It would be unbelievably easy to write this band off before even listening to them: they have a terrible band name; the name they've given this, their debut album, is even worse; they cannot stop whining about girls; and they met through Myspace. These are all the things that are so ridiculously over-done that they've actually caused the word cliché to become cliché.

I doubt these, or any of the bands they near-plagiarise, care at all that they are offering fuck all to push the boundaries of music and creativity. They just want to look hot in skinny jeans with nice hair, and hear 14 year old girls, and the guys that look suspiciously older, sing their songs back to them. Is that so wrong? I'm going to say yes, but one of my favourite "artists" is owned by Mickey Mouse, so I'm a hypocrite. However, I should mention AvP's regular use of the acoustic guitar, which is an important fixture in their sound as it helps one ever-so-very-very-slightly distinguish them from the next powerpop boy band in line behind them.

What powerpop album can be taken srsly among the internet teens without the odd "woah", "ah" and "ohh"? AvP incorporate these into the chorus', bridges, endings - usually when they seem to feel that some songs are a bit light. These bromidic requirements are aptly pushed into the background for the most part, and when they need some gibberish to chant - like in the delightful "Car Crash" - they settle upon the lesser used "ba da da da da". In that song they actually sing "I've figured it out that I don't have it down", which some wry soul could turn against the band. I wanted to, but it's AvP at their best, and their best is pretty good. They've got that annoying, cheery, infectiousness down. "Damn Rough Night" borrows from something I swear I've heard School Boy Humour do, and "Broke But Not Broken" is a fairly typical guitar-driven radio-friendly pop rock track that's slightly more dynamic than the rest of this album, and even though it does that cheesy fade out thing at the end of the song, it only serves to promote the guilty pleasure nature of this band.

There are cringe-worthy moments, as expected. Aside from the usual things, like lyrics, how about how the electronic keys aren't always tasteful. The track "Favourite Fix" starts off with synth, and doesn't ease off its suggestions of faux-scenecore. Honestly, I was expecting a breakdown and one of two of those "shrill chords" at some point. The start of "We're All The Same" rips off Owl City (who ripped off The Postal Service). "Miserably Loving You" is one of those slow songs that eventually become "big", the kind that make you want to vomit; the same could easily be said about "Alive".

As a debut, "Favourite Fix" is a solid release, with some good tunes, but there's an noticeable amount of filler. You could easily make similar cases for many albums by similar bands. Artist vs Poet succeed in many of the same areas as their derivatives: they're heartbroken, but play happy yet catchy music. They also fall short is many of the same areas, one or two stand out tracks overshadow the rest, and they seem incapable of writing a decent slow-tempo'd song. Ultimately, your opinions of the bands in the "For The Fans of" section will likely determine whether you'll pay this band significant attention. I can't really claim you'd be a fool for doing so, even though I do think this band have more potential than many of their contemporaries.

Download: Car Crash; Damn Rough Night; Broke But Not Broken
For The Fans of: The Maine; School Boy Humour; The Summer Set
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 02.03.2010
Fearless Records

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