ERGS!, THE: Dorkrockcorkrod: LP

What the fuck do we mean when we say “pop punk” anymore? It’s a term so loosely applied to every “punk” band without a three foot mohawk or girl pants and swooping bangs that it means little to nothing to me anymore. I mean to me “pop punk” is a term and invention of the ‘90s applied to bands like Screeching Weasel, The Queers, MTX, The Lillingtons, Boris The Sprinkler, Green Day, (and it pains me to say) Blink 182, most things on Mutant Pop Records, and retroactively applied to bands like the Descendents. I had to put “most things” before Mutant Pop because Dillinger Four put out a 7” on Mutant Pop and I don’t consider Dillinger Four “pop punk.” I don’t know what fits bands like D4, 99.9 percent of what’s on No Idea, or half a dozen other like-minded labels but I know it isn’t pop punk. What am I driving at here? I guess it’s that the term pop punk has been so diluted that when I say The Ergs! are the first decent pop punk band in probably ten years that my meaning may be unclear. I feel like in the late ‘90s in to the first few years of the oughts that pop punk really took a nose dive. Most of the classic bands of the genre were breaking up or trying to break out of the box that they and their fans put them by playing music that was definitely not what they were known for. And sadly on the grassroots front there was a glut of half-assed bands aping Screeching Weasel or Blink 182 and ultra glossy bubble gum bands. Everything just seemed to be going wrong for the genre and I think, subsequently, a lot of people moved on. Anyway, 2003 rolls around and this little gem comes out. This is The Ergs! first LP and although not a call to pop punk arms in and of itself, it was definitely the rumblings of the old beast starting up again. It’s well played, well written with just the right amount of rough edges, angst, and a surprising lack of cringe-worthy moments. It reminds me a lot of the Descendents but in no way does it leave me feeling like they’re aping them. By no means do I think we’re talking about a modern classic here, but it definitely has its moments. And for a genre that has struggled for so long (in my eyes admittedly) that’s saying an awful lot. Tightest jam: “Pray for Rain.” 

 –Steve Stephenson (Don Giovanni)