Release DetailsLABEL No Joke Records
RELEASED ON 5/15/2005
posted on 9/2005 By:
Remember those cartoon characters that could enter any kind of artwork, and interact with the scenery? After listening to Hungwell from its beginning to its end, the noose on the front cover began to look pretty good. That’s not to say that Nuse (did the word genuinely need alteration?) lack the abilities to craft decent songs. On the contrary, some of the trio’s repertoire presents itself in an inviting fashion. But the record’s good characteristics aren’t enough to catapult it past average territory.
While the music clutches overused formulas, the majority of the riffs, grooves, and hooks are likeable enough to escape hardnosed criticism. The threesome all share vocal duties, and that’s when Nuse sound most like a catchy hardcore group. Thus, chances are, you’ll either praise the vocals or berate them. For me, the most aggravating thing about Hungwell is its lyrical inanities, which downplay the album as a whole. The lyrics are essentially just stupid, stupid, stupid! From the Dr. Seuss references in opener “Blue Fish,” to the idiocy spilled forth in “Only on TV,” to the pro-pot ramblings of “Smoke,” the lyrics are annoying simply because they’re poorly-written, devoid of any shred of cleverness, and are oversaturated with a vast number of mindless, worthless obscenities. Moderation is often king.
As it stands, though, I don’t despise Nuse. The musicianship satisfies the requirements it set for itself. However, Hungwell fails to break new ground in any department, but I’m convinced that the band weren’t necessarily trying to redefine musical boundaries here. My bet is that the Mangual brothers and LaMastro just felt like having a good ol’ time, and recording a decent-sized romp simultaneously. To circumvent once again, though, I expected more of a group that’s been around since 1993.
I shouldn’t have to describe much more about Nuse’s Hungwell for you to get the point. The full-length is infectious intermittently, but there are far too many detractors for the aforementioned to warrant even a brief once-over. It’s also sad to think that this is No Joke Records’s maiden voyage into the music world, and just because a group happens to be somewhat established (and has a string of EP’s to their name) doesn’t mean the results are going to appease listeners. A piece of constructive criticism: improve. Do it for the children.
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