Tony Sly

12 Song Program

Written by: PP on 11/11/2010 02:53:10

Speaking of No Use For A Name (see previous review), here's a release that has been lying on my desk for all too long, because I simply don't really know what to say about it. The fact that "12 Song Program" is the debut solo album of the No Use For A Name vocalist Tony Sly after 23 years of being in his main band will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about this record in itself. I mean come on, you know the formula NUFAN has been using throughout their career, what makes you think it's going to be any different here? It's the same thing with Jim Lindberg founding his own project after Pennywise, it's impossible to escape the association because of such a familiar voice that has been a part of so many nostalgia-filled moments in one's past.

That said, "12 Song Program" isn't a direct clone of any particular No Use album because it doesn't feature any electric instruments, just Mr. Sly with his acoustic guitar and occasional folk instruments quietly supporting him in behind the scenes. The songs are much gentler and more balladic by definition, fitting right in the singer-songwriter genre, with the exception that there's a soft punk vibe to the songs solely because of his background. The acoustic guitar contains no surprises (no crazy Frank Turner moments here dudes), and neither does the vocal department. You know exactly what you're getting there: great harmonies that sound just like the ones scattered across the nine NUFAN albums in existence at the time of writing this. It's kinda like Joey Cape's (Lagwagon) acoustic work, simple and to the point, relying only on the easily recognizable voice that has reigned strong in punk circles and beyond all these years. It's not experimental or folksy at all, like the Chuck Ragan records. The songs aren't bad as such, but they aren't particularly interesting either, aside from a couple. But even these would have greatly benefited from a full band behind him, if you ask me.

But if you do happen to be into punk vocalists turning solo and writing acoustic songs, then this is a natural choice for you. Just be aware of the fact that what made Sly's vocal harmonies so great in his main bands was partly the speed and the melodic skatepunk nature of the sound, whereas here he is directly in the spotlight. In my opinion, he doesn't stand quite strong enough for this release to matter in the big picture. It might serve as a stepping stone to NUFAN for some, but otherwise I just don't see the point of this release other than making sure his main project doesn't need to record quiet and soft songs because he can vent that desire out here on his solo album.

6

Download: Capo 4th Fret, Already Won
For the fans of: No Use For A Name, Joey Cape
Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.02.2010
Fat Wreck Chords

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