Full disclosure: The drummer of this band got me into punk rock, the singer/guitarist’s former mother-in-law was my eighth grade science teacher, and the bass player will, to me, forever be twelve years old. That being said, this is the Indiana-based band’s first release. It’s a six song EP, with one of those songs being a bonus track (a cover of a song by the singer’s solo act, The Rutabega). The band is a three piece with the bassist also doing some background vocals. Although the band states their influences range from Minor Threat to Redd Kross and the Flaming Lips, it’s much easier to hear the Flaming Lips than the other bands. This is total pop with a lemony twist of intelligence (take that, generic emo band of the month!) with much of the album focused more on ideal songwriting and less on energy and punk-inspired mass mayhem. Thus, the clean recording and engineering really emphasizes the band’s music. Having known the band members’ previous acts—singer/songwriter, math rock, atmospheric alterna-rock—Sad Tropics seems like the logical next step in the musical lives of these individuals. The sound may be too unsoiled for most readers of this zine, but the hooks and catchiness of the choruses really shouldn’t be lost on any fan of the poppier side of punk.
–kurt (Self-released, Sad Tropics, www.myspace.com/sadtropics)