Monday, March 12, 2012

Masked Intruder - First Offense

Everyone's favorite group of pop punk inmates have finally unleashed their debut 7" EP! Filled with so many sugary hooks that you should go see your dentist after each listen, First Offense continues the themes of lighthearted songs about love, rejection, and restraining orders, that were found present on their 2011 demo.

Musically the band sounds like a continuation of the Ramones, particularly Teenage Bottlerocket. Lightning fast tempos, with chugged guitars, a repetitive chorus, and a drumming style that can really only be described as "Tommy R." (or Marky, for those who prefer the later stuff). They don't deviate from this style much, but Masked Intruder does offer some insight to what they would sound like as an a capella group on the final track, Wish You Were Mine. It comes as a very pleasant surprise, and it shows off the band's vocal capabilities, sounding more like the Temptations almost. This shift doesn't last long before the band launches back into their standard pop punk sound, although the backing vocals provided continue to be top notch and work well alongside lead vocalist Blue.

Lyrically the band continues to exploit their alleged criminal background. From armed robbery (Stick 'Em Up (I Got a Knife)), to wanting to get out of prison for allegedly being a changed man (Gimme Parole), to wanting to do anything to be with a woman (How Do I Get to You?), the band never breaks character, always sticking with the theme that they're a bunch of dangerous thugs. The lyrics are in direct contrast to how fun the music is, although they use it to their advantage and it helps them create a playful atmosphere to let listeners know that this project isn't meant to be taken too seriously.

Gimmick bands are a tricky thing, but Masked Intruder has found a comfortable place for themselves on the spectrum. Love songs and pop punk have always gone hand-in-hand, and Masked Intruder has found a new way to present the overdone pop song about love without going out of their way to alienate new listeners. First Offense is an enjoyable ten minutes and shows a lot of promise from these boys. Now if only they could just stay out of prison long enough to record a full length!

Stick 'Em Up (I Got a Knife) can be streamed here:

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