A horrible hack


The Papas

Year Released: 2011
Format: CD
Label: Discount Horse - Funk You is a Seven Letter Word Records
Reviewed by Bob Alderdice on Dec 17, 2011
Also known as David Combs, Spoonboy is perhaps more familiar to many as member of DC punk band, THE MAX LEVINE ENSEMBLE. Fans of the whole Plan-it-x / folk-punk scene however will no doubt have been waiting for this album as his first full length, I love you this is a robbery, was in my mind one of the best examples of acoustic punk rock to date.

Admittedly, I haven't listened to much folk-punk for a few years. I thought that the main reason that I wasn't into it as much anymore was that as great and unique and intimate as it was live, this could never be replicated through the stereo. And to be frank, I got fed up of listening to cds that sounded like they'd been recorded in someone's shed. For this reason, I was slightly taken aback when I started listening to this cd. Electric guitar? Keyboards? HORN SECTION? What is this, The Disco Before the Breakdown?

In fairness, the music is not that far removed from the familiar Spoonboy sound, but it does sound more like a MAX LEVINE record to me. But then, is that such a bad thing? Maybe it's just progress.

What you'd expect from Spoonboy is certainly still there though. Poppy yet thought provoking songs offer commentary on politics, religion, masculinity and gender roles. The songs are well crafted and despite the heavy subject matter, there's plenty of opportunity to join in with a nod and a sing-song!

So why, after two or three listens am I not completely enamoured with this album? The Papa's seems to address all of my gripes, beefing up the sound with keyboards, jangly guitars and horns and putting some time into the production. The quality is certainly there. The lyrics are great and there's no doubting Combs' musicianship. The wierd thing is, now that I've heard the alternative,

I think I prefer the original. Give me the shed recording any day. Luckily for me, all of the lo-fi recordings are on there as well! The cd version has them tacked on to the end, the LP offers them as a bonus cd. Nice one!

If you're into acoustic / folk punk and haven't yet heard Spoonboy, you should definitely buy this (although I would recommend his first album before this one). For those of you that have, you can expect more of the same from him, with the added bonus of seeing if the grass really is greener on the electric side.

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