Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'Over Leavitt' by Noise By Numbers

By Kevin Toomey
Rating: 2/5
Jump Start Records CD/LP
August 2011

My first impression of Over Leavitt was to say that Noise By Numbers is a very apt name for this band. After a couple more chances, I can’t say that my first impression was very far off. While I like Dan Schafer’s work in most of the other bands he’s been in (Screeching Weasel, The Riverdales, The Methadones, The Mopes, Sludgeworth, The Queers, Generation Waste), the majority of the material on Over Leavitt didn’t seem to really measure up to the songwriting standard that he’s set for himself in The Riverdales or The Methadones. The songwriting style isn’t that much different, although the sound of the band is a break from form. Everything '90s seems to be a thing right now and I guess it’s the case for punk music too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that once that fad is done, Over Leavitt might sound a little dated. Noise By Numbers are definitely going for a bigger type of sound than The Riverdales or The Methadones ever had, but the substance isn’t really there to back up the big feel that they’re shooting for. The layered guitars sound good on “Yeah, Whatever,” but the guitars aren’t varied enough for each to shine through and the effect is a mostly boring song, even though it’s one of the better songs on the album. “Swarm of Flies” pulls off the big feel a little better and I wish more of the songs stayed in this vein. Two of the other decent tracks are “Lost My Way” and “I Don’t Think So,” where I can really hear the attempt at recreating an early ’90s Replacements sort of sound. I’d say listen to “Lost My Way” and “Swarm of Flies” and you can probably pass on the rest of the album.

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