BILLY BATTS & THE MADE MEN: My Empire Is Crumbling!: LP

Jul 21, 2023

Rarely will I comment on cover art—I’ve been involved in crafting a few less-than-awesome covers myself—but whooo boy. You got your crucified Gumby, you got your blue guy with a diaper and a TV for a head, holding another guy’s severed head in his fist, and an album title written in what looks suspiciously like Comic Sans. There’s just… a lot going on. More importantly, it doesn’t do a lot to capture the music, which is pretty scrappy, with less of an emphasis on melody than I was expecting, given that it was produced by Joe Queer. Overall, it’s a decent outing, with only a few songs striking past the two-minute mark, and while it undoubtedly took a lot of work to put this thing together—putting out records is hard to do—there’s a certain type of punk song that just zips right past me without ever being particularly indelible. A song that’s not quite hardcore, not overtly melodic, not particularly vicious, doesn’t have a real striking hook to it, it’s just a bit… there. This LP’s kind of like that. Band has potential, but to this listener they feel like they’re still stretching their legs a little bit, trying to find their way. –Keith Rosson (Billy Batts)