Pop. Punk. Alt-rock. Does it matter? I mean…really? Where indie rock is barely a shell of what indie rock is even supposed to be, and artist and cultivating entire careers on molding genres into a bizarre concoction only acceptable to a few niche listeners, the genre is a dated “genre” in itself. ‘Countless Thousands’ surprise me around every turn of their full-length album ‘We’re Just Really Excited To Be Here.’ What a fun title, I adore it. Tonally it says, “whatever.” This is the attitude to have- the winning attitude.
A few songs in, ‘Countless Thousands’ attempt four different stylistic deviations. They craft punk rock speed with an almost rhythmic ferocity. ‘Fickle’ showcases their aggression rather well. ‘The Chemical Exchange’ displays some virtuosic musicianship, with a little country-rock leanings that never fails to satisfy. ‘The Pirate’s Shanty’ finds our front man so angry, so intense, he is nearly screaming out his lungs with passion and frustration. You just hear the chords straining. What is he yelling about? Who knows…pirates?
‘The Devil and Davey Munch’ seems culled right out of the Charlie Daniels Band ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia, managing to explore prog-spoken word- metal-country all in one massive 7 minute fell swoop. ‘Three Hours Sleep’ sticks out as a fun little dance romp, with a tidy little pop hook to hold it all together.
Underlying all this genre muddling is a coating of garage rock. Many songs seem reliant on easy laid-back production, and a bit of studio raspiness.
‘Countless Thousands’ could very easily fall prey to pompousness. Despite the title, the group is trying- they are really trying. The sheer scale of the album, and the obvious camaraderie between the group (not too mention their total attitude towards music- one of nonchalance) speaks for itself. The group is just happy to explore whatever musical influences rise to the surface, whether this is Neil Young, the Ramones, or the Black Keys or Tenacious D. There is humor here- which shows self awareness. It also nicely compliments the attitude they are trying to portray.
Humor is nice. Long albums are nice (the more the merrier). Genres are nice. ‘Countless Thousands’ is not a band that is “outside the box.” They stay in a steady zone of music relatable. It is not so much the fact that they are inside the box, it’s the fact that after every song, every verse, every vocal melody, comes a group so willing to move to another creative box and leave the previous one behind. This results in an album that is demanding, sporadic, and overwhelming. But through it all, the album could never be considered boring- and since we’re all just excited to be here, that is the only desirable result.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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