Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Direct Hit! - Domesplitter

Domesplitter came out yesterday. It came out officially anyway, it leaked awhile ago and the band decided that if people were just going to download it, that they'd also offer it on their bandcamp for free. At least that way more people would be joining their mailing list. If you do go to their bandcamp and decide to download it for free, at least buy a T-shirt or go see them live or something.

Anyway, even though I've had it for about three weeks I haven't written about it because I've been too blown away by it to even think about trying to write about it. That's only partially true. It's also because I've been busy with real estate school and security school and turning 23 and laying around thinking about girls my girlfriend and how much I miss being in college.

Maybe if blink-182 didn't really sound like blink-182 and
sounded more like if Andrew WK got a Johnny Ramone
haircut and sang some early Thermals songs.
The album, in short, is wonderful. Like everyone already knows, Domesplitter consists of ten songs taken from the band's five EPs/demos, chosen by fans, re-recorded specifically for the album. I would try to describe how they sound in my own words, but the band does a pretty good job at it themselves by saying "Andrew WK meets Ramones meets the Thermals."  Some people might say they sound a bit like Latterman, which is kind of true I guess, if Latterman wrote about more pressing issues like werewolves and outer space. I've also seen comparisons to blink-182, which isn't really true outside of the fact that they both write some catchy songs.

I had a discussion with a friend about Domesplitter, and the worries that came along with releasing an album full of songs that have already been released. I didn't want to admit it at the time, but I was a little worried that it would take away from part of the album's charm. However, I thought about what the band members had said about this release and how the songs would sound different due to changes in the line up and whatnot, and I decided that it would still rule. And holy shit, does it still rule.

The most noticeable thing about the songs is that they're all played faster. Which is totally cool because singing a slow song about blowing up a building or a zombie attack would probably suck even though the critics (Pitchfork) would eat that shit up and call it a metaphorical masterpiece. But Direct Hit! isn't trying to be Bob Dylan or Connor Oberst. They're trying more to be The Thermals if the Thermals wore leather jackets and partied hard. And they do what works best for them. Other than being played fast, the songs keep the same lyrics and same general sense of being upbeat as all hell.

There are some changes. As most people have noted (even by those who love the album) the opening statement of "Fuck You! Get Pumped!" (from here on referred to as "FY!GP!") is a tad weaker than the FY!GP!'s of EPs/demos past. It's still barked with the same intensity, but something about it just doesn't compare to the "FY!GP!" found on #4. I chose to use #4 as an example since its lead track, Snickers or Reese's (Pick Up the Pieces), is also the first track on Domesplitter. The mid-song scream of "Snickers or Reese's" is also weaker than the original's. It's sad because the rest of the song is still awesome as fuck. Can I even say that or is that only to be used to describe Green Day from now on? However, once you get to track 2 (or if you've never listened to the band before Domesplitter), the album only goes uphill from there.

As almost every other review that I've read has mentioned, the new drummer is a beast. He throws in all these little fills and is a total powerhouse. This guy has potential to be the next Dave Grohl if he doesn't mind fronting his own band while drumming for everyone else (I hope he doesn't read this and take offense to that statement. I mean it only in the sense that Dave Grohl hits hard and is always playing for a million bands).

I personally find that the songs that improved the most from being rerecorded are the tracks taken from the first three EPs/demos (I still don't know what to call them). The whole thing is awesome, no doubt, but the quality of those earliest recordings is vastly inferior when compared to Domesplitter. I don't think that the originals were shit or anything, but it always bugged me how the songs on #3 sounded like they were blasting full on into the red on the control board.

In summary, Domesplitter by Direct Hit! contains short burst of energy after short burst of energy, only taking a rest during the mid-album sample of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and the time it takes you to press the play button again once the album is over. The songs are about zombies, monsters, Satan and space and there are keyboard solos. It's just fun music from a time when every punk band is trying to sing about serious issues. If you don't like it, you're either lying or you don't like fun.


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