MARK SPARKLES, THE: Uppers and Downers: 7″

The Mark Sparkles offer two songs of really rough around the edges pop punk in the mode of the EastBay of yesteryear (i.e., pre-Dookie). The bass is probably the best part, as it bounces all over the place while never sounding off. The vocals are the worst part. It’s not that the vocals are inherently bad. It’s just that there are three different vocalists, and they are all in stark contrast with each other. One guy has a perky approach that follows the upstroke of the guitar, another guy goes the gruff route (think more early Jeff Ott), and the third is a girl who is bordering on shrieking. Though I wouldn’t immediately dismiss any future output, this record has me firmly placed on the fence.

 –Vincent (Abandon Hope / Artificial Limb)