"I\' m not going to read their promotional stuff before I listen to the music," I told my friends as I sat down to listen to Scene of Action\' s self-titled EP, "I don\' t want to be tainted." It turned out to be a good call on my part, because the actual songs greatly overshadowed the band\' s underwhelming credentials as Bay Area natives and recent college graduates. Their press material paints them as your average white upper-class California frat party rockers. This is not the case.
Right out of the gate this album had my attention. The single "Daydream Stop Shock", which has already seen air play in their native state, pounds out a heavy-handed marching beat while the guitars do their best to give the impression they\' re stringed with barbed wire. The angular timbres, razor-like riffs, and rolling bass lines contribute to a sound that dances on your eardrums like a seven hundred pound dancing robot. With a flamethrower.
Towards the end of the album the band tends to stray from their strengths: punchy meters, punctuated guitar riffs, blaring vocals, and a busy bass. The last two tracks, "The Truth Is Out" and "Unbelievable", display a desire to touch hearts with a soaring epic emotional sound. To be honest Scene of Action does not really deliver on the emotional content. But the album is smashing, roaring, and marching so much you don\' t really have time to notice.
PopSmear records has been pushing this band hard for good reason. They have a potentially very wide audience as their music is aggressive enough to entertain punks and metalheads, while still being non-threatening enough to appeal to more traditional music listeners. Like the Strokes they marry traditional tunesmithing with syncopation and distortion in a way that makes them simultaneously ingenuous and accessible. Unlike the Strokes, Scene of Action doesn\' t seem willing to water down or distill the ever-present rage in their music.
1. Daydream Stop Shock
2. Conscious Ache
3. Keeping Up
4. The Truth Is Out