Brown Paper Bag – Its Supposed To Be Offensive / 2004 Broken Bonez / http://www.brokenbonezrecords.com / Reviewed 02 March 2005
Talking over a punk beat does not a song make, and Brown Paper Bag obscure their solid arrangements with sloppy, shouted out lyrics. In fact, Brown paper Bag sounds like an equal mixture of Leftover Crack and Blink 182, to the point that both factions present on the disc really make for a cluttered time. The second track is much more coherent than the opening, but shows the vocals on the track being tempered more and more by Atom and His Package instead of American Distress. The mastering actually finds some sort of reprieve during the “Givin Up On Me”, which is so loud and obnoxious that it gives the band that much more energy. The bass is loud and chunky and the vocals are warbly, but you know what? Brown Paper Bag has a sort of bum charm and ear for catchy arrangements that would shine through even if they were recorded in a garage. “Just A Dream has an Offspring (think of syncopated vocal stylings like Dexter’s work on “Gone Away”) feel to it. Continuing that low-key, intense feel to “Pyscho Bitch” Brown Paper Bag, the band reaches to heights which it had only previously looked up – the vocals have a Misfits-esque feel to it, and the stop-start of the track is reminiscent of The Kinks.
Moving back to more of a “Rock Show” feel for “Jerk”, Brown Paper Bag’s only snag comes in the loud bass pedal of Jaime’s drums, which drowns out practically every other note of music heard on the track. The continual incorporation of different musical styles shows that Brown paper Bag is not your average punk rock band, and tracks like “War With No One” enlighten individuals about this fact, showing that they are not a one-trip pony. In fact, the bridge during “War” is one of the most memorable musical moment on the disc, using a heart-wrechingly intricate bass with a ska-style of strummed guitar.
“Emo’s The Coolest” shows a long look back at The Queers and The Vandals, both in subject material and snotty vocals, while the disc begins to end with the spastic beat of “Video Games”. The guitar solo found on that track shows a maturity that hopefully will be explored on future recordings. With a hairy recording, the band’s full potential isn’t achieved but the ability of the band is such that one will certainly be able to look through the fuzz and haze at what is a surprisingly fun disc.
Top Tracks: Princess, Givin Up On Me