In my opinion, it is usually a pretty safe bet to seriously doubt the intentions and integrity of any band whose name is an acronym for "Scream Toward the Uprising of Non-Conformity". Why do you ask? Because that would generally lead one to believe that they do, in fact, conform.
Any band that claims it has "the lyrical integrity of The Clash" and the "high-energy, fearless-punk-sensibilities of The Sex Pistols" is usually a band that has anything but. I mean, honestly, I have serious doubts that any of these kids would know who Joe Strummer or Johnny Lydon were even if they fell out of the sky, landed on their face and started to wiggle. From their brand new, ironed and starched RAMONES T-shirts that they bought from Hot Topic to their straight-out-of-the-box Chuck Taylor sneakers that they probably got from their big corporate sponsor at Converse, this band is yet another way for the music industry to prey upon and pick apart the punk/hardcore scene by exploiting it to its fullest potential.
I won't dare deny for even a second that I do find this CD enjoyable. The music is well played. It really uses it's unconventional tempos to it's advantage and the vocals are fantastic, great even. Almost Perry Farrel like, and it really does mix very well with the music. Unfortunately that's about as far as I get until I realize that the lyrics they are singing about... The revolutions they are screaming for... The underground they claim to know of... And the UNITY they call for are all more foreign to them than most third-world countries are to us, the average music fan and lover.
The CD really does come out of the gates running like a thoroughbred. Truly. The first track entitled "Movement" is a great opening song that would really get the crowd moving. The song is intense and the vocals go right through you. It's a good first taste. Think Jane's Addiction meets Rage Against The Machine. You hear this song and you wet your lips in anticipation for more... It's too bad that from that point forward, everything seriously lacks in comparison. If Geffen were smart (and let's be honest here, are any corporate music entities ever really smart?) they would release this as the first single. This song alone would make people buy this. This review however is to let those being preyed upon know that the rest of the album is a joke. To quote the band from "Movement"... "Our hearts are being bought, our brains are being washed". S.T.U.N should heed their own lyrics.
Contrary to what you are thinking at this very moment, I have nothing against punk bands signing with major labels. Quicksand did it years ago and their first album on Interscope was nothing short of amazing. That's correct. I said AMAZING! I never once knocked them for what they did. The difference here is this... Quicksand earned their stripes. They did the DIY thing and they never claimed to be something they're not. This band... I highly doubt they even know what real punk is, let alone understand it.
Moving through the rest of the songs on the album, we get to "Annihilation of the Generations" which is really a catchy tune with some nice hooks and breakdowns that I can see on MTV2 any day now. From there we run into "Here comes the Underground" which seems to preach to the middle-class as well as the punk scene and calls for a revolution from the underground... Again, I have my doubts that these gentlemen would know the underground if they stubbed their toe on it in the middle of the night. I'm sorry, but it's very rare that ANY punk band puts out their debut record with not so much as a 7", a cd or previous release on an indie label and when they do surpass all of those "indie" avenues and jump directly into the corporate boxing ring, it's usually because that's what they were bred for... Corporate rock and top 40 radio play.
At this point in the album, the songs take a serious downward spiral and hit rock bottom very quickly. The first 3 or 4 songs really reel you in, but once that slide starts, it's hard to rebound from. The rest of the songs on the album really just melt together. Nothing ground-breaking. Nothing new. Nothing that makes each song stand out. And lastly, nothing that makes me WANT to listen to them.
I think my problem with this album, overall, is that even though the music is catchy and played extremely well, I can't seem to get passed the fact that it comes off as if it was written not for them (the musicians), but for the music fan, or so they would like you to believe. When was the last time you heard or even wanted to hear an album or song that wasn't personal on some level? A good musician and song writer writes songs that you can relate to on some level which is why songs that are written about break ups, having a shitty day at work, songs about wanting to kick your bosses ass, shit, even songs about sex are sometimes the best songs. I just get the feeling that these songs were written with the thought of all of them being "Youth Anthems" and while an anthem here and there is fucking rad, a whole album of them is not only boring, but pretentious.
In the end, this CD, regardless of how good the music is (and yes, it is very good at times) is really a disappointment. Like the N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys before them, this band is a corporate entity and that's a shame because if they came off like they had the even slightest bit of integrity, this CD may be worth your $18.99. So I say this... Launch you latest version of Kazaa, Limewire or Morpheus etc and type in the following word... "FAKE". I'm sure this band will pop up quite quickly so you can save your money and just download it for free.
Be insulted. I know I am.
Joseph f. Kuzemka is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.