Poised To Break
By: Eric G.
This is the type of record that your girlfriend will steal within one week of your purchasing it, and you probably won't even care. Sunday's Best sounds a tad too earnest and sensitive for those who like their rock on the abrasive side. Sure, there are parts here that rock, but the overriding attributes are the sugary melodies and pristine harmonies. The band's production techniques have improved immensely from its last seven-inch, but the vocals have jumped way too high in the mix. Each song has a distinctly sing-songy chorus, but unlike most emo/pop punk bands the singer can actually sing.
"The Hardest Part" is a high-energy pogo rocker in the vein of early Superchunk, but the band owes a royalty check to Sting for copping the verse melody from "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Seriously, listen to them both back to back. It's uncanny. Sunday's Best then tip sits hat to Radiohead on "Bruise-Blue." The vocals mimic Thom Yorke's Bends-era falsetto, and the chiming guitars recall Radiohead's quieter moments. It's obvious that the band is taking itself seriously enough to warrant such a sensitive disposition, which is unfortunate because it's almost always bad news when any band gets too self-aware.
"Saccharine" has an infectious chorus that's hard to dismiss. It's another Superchunk-sounding indie punk anthem: "We want it and we want it now." The dual guitars thrust the chorus along. Borrowed or not the band has an ear for melody. As mushy as "Indian Summer" is it's definitely got the hooks to make the ladies swoon. Sunday's Best is not far from Third Eye Blind territory. I'm not sure if that's a concern of the band's or not. It may very well want to be on MTV's 120 Minutes. Who knows? The lightly rocking "When Is Pearl Harbor Day?" is the type of song any band with a hint of testosterone would bury deep in the back yard and never speak of again, but Sunday's Best trots it our proudly- simpering lyrics and all.
The 'emo' tag may seem harsh, but Sunday's Best truly pushes the limits of sappiness just over half way through its debut full-length. "In Beats Like Trains" the band takes some sort of underdog-feminist stance, and it comes off not preachy but forced: "The girl you used to tease is rolling up her sleeves/she finds everything she needs in the pages of the books she reads." Does this band think its pop punk's answer to Belle And Sebastian? Any chance of redemption is lost on "Looks Like A Mess." It surges with resignation and these somewhat embarrassing lines: "Drank it up slowly as I looked at the only people in the room/'it's ok to admit that you had been laughed at' said Mr. Deacon Blues/then some fool laughed and 'high fived' the bar-back."
Sunday's Best is clearly targeting the sensitive crowd with these mawkish ballads disguised as pop punk rockers. Turning up the guitars in the chorus doesn't save a song from being a ballad. Just when you're ready to write the band off as another overly sentimental punk band a song like "Winter-Owned" hits you with its undeniably catchy vocals and sharp guitars. Whoops, "Congratulations" brings it right back down to reality. Cheesy sentimentality wins after all. What a shame.