CHEAP THRILLS/NERVOUS HABITS: Split 7”

Look, I’ll freely admit it: I am one of those dickheads whose listening enjoyment is often influenced by how a record looks and sounds. And before you roll your eyes and say “Duh” to that little gem—what I mean is that there are people who are fans of lo-fi production, and there are those of us who deal with it. I’m one of the latter, and I found myself unfortunately having a hard time making it through this one. Which totally sucks, because I can hear the potential energy and hooks on both sides of this thing, like little jewels buried in the sonic slag heap. But when the entire thing is either buried so far in the red that the snare drum is, like, indenting the vocals (Cheap Thrills) or is so treble-heavy that the bass is nearly nonexistent (Nervous Habits), it really gets frustrating—I could tell that, given a more interesting cover and just a bit more evening out of the production aspect of this record, the chances are really good that I’d have totally dug this one. But as it stands now, both of these bands are doing some pretty decent dagger-in-the-face punk shit, ala a more frenzied, simpler and meaner Briefs or bands of that ilk, but there’s just too much fuzz covering everything. Everything’s too tinny or too hot. I don’t need sitars or quadruple-tracked guitar solos, but I want to be able to hear the shit, you know?

 –keith (Terminal City)