Benchwarmer | New Releases | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Music » New Releases

Benchwarmer

Benchwarmer
UR Records

by

comment
Remember when you were living in a neighborhood filled with college kids, and there was this one hip band that always played the fun house parties and had one or two good songs? That could be Benchwarmer.

Nowadays, the youth are just sophisticated enough that their shindigs don't always have to feature a hapless matchbox twenty clone. It could be swift, tinny post-punk with minor-key bass lines, shards of chunky noise and guitars that ching. A band caught somewhere between punk, garage and indie-rock that hasn't really figured out a signature sound -- and probably enjoys incorporating various influences anyway, due to members' diverse CD collections -- that can get by without obvious hooks as long as the rhythms are bouncy enough to make you shake your head while standing in line at the keg.

Toss in a bit of Wire, Mission of Burma and maybe Gang of Four (hear the funk on "8-Bit Apocalypse"), but don't make it too arty because in the long run, the kids would much rather hear Black Flag. The shout-along chorus of "Blue Collar Fight Song" goes down well with a can of PBR and a night of debauchery on the South Side, while "Status Quo" is the kind of danceable, bass-driven screamo that sets hearts a-flutter over at the Roboto Project. It's OK if the vocals are a bit indistinct, as long as they're delivered with sufficient punk-rock fervor.

The members of Benchwarmer seem to know the right local buttons to push -- studio production was handled by Jason Jouver of Creta Bourzia, and the pop-art cover design was done by Houston McIntyre of The Cheats. Now they just need to decide what kind of band they really want to be, beyond the standardized, pedestrian bar-punk that keeps a crowd drinking but doesn't sustain a sufficient level of listening interest across an entire CD.

Add a comment