Monday, September 11, 2023

The Subjunctives - Let's Try This Again LP - Pink Vinyl


Top Drawer (2023)

When I think about it, it seems kind of inconceivable that the last Subjunctives album came out four years ago already.  Sunshine and Rainbows still feels like a new record to me and while I'm fully aware that my sense of time has been distorted over the past few years, it's wild that I'm holding the band's new record thinking 'boy, they sure pumped out another one of these pretty quick.'  Yet the entirety of how long it takes to get through high school has happened since the last one.  Feeling old yet?

Let's Try This Again picks up where Sunshine and Rainbows left off, with Ean, Jeff and new drummer Wendell crafting poppy punk songs that lean on Bob Mould style guitar crunch as much as they do Sicko style irreverence and tight hooks.  I had mentioned when I wrote about the first Subjunctives record that this was the Ean band that was able to scratch my Sicko itch, and while there's probably a better way to phrase the sentence in a way that doesn't make it seem like I'm dealing with some sort of rash, it's still true.  This makes me feel like it's 1996 again, hanging out in the record store and just enjoying the way the music was making me feel.

Lyrically, Ean is really in top form here.  We've got songs about smart pop punk vs. dumb pop punk, career paths, Covid, fuckers and Lance from J Church/Cringer.  It's subject matter that certainly resonates with me and it's refreshing to hear an album that feels thematically targeted to someone in their 40s and 50s.  And that's not to say the kids won't be able to get down with these funky sounds.  I'm sure many in their 20s will agree that these tracks slap.  Which is a somewhat obnoxious way to say that this kind of pop punk always feels universal to me.  Even if the specific topics might skew to an older demographic, the overall feelings of battling insecurities, fears and trying to celebrate the things that help get you through each day are common themes that everyone can relate to.  

Start to finish, it's just as strong a record as Sunshine and Rainbows.  We've got short fast songs, we've got mid tempo guitar pop and we've even got a cover of the Sicko song "Believe" played even faster than the original.  To me the biggest difference between Let's Try This Again and the last record is in the vocals.  The way they are recorded is much more slick and it's dripping with massive harmonies on just about every song.  It sounds full, crisp and and impeccably recorded, though it is missing a little bit of the scrappiness that I tend to associate with Sicko and the first Subjunctives album.

2023 is a year that, for me, has really been lacking in new albums that I've connected with.  There's been a some, but I can't remember a year where I've bought fewer new records.  Luckily, The Subjunctives were aware of my plight and put out a record that reminds me that there's more to life than 90s reissues.  There's also people from the 90s still writing great music.

The Subjunctives - Let's Try This Again:

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