Avoid One Thing – s/t (sideonedummy)

As I see it, press kits are most useful after you’ve thought up your review and you want to make sure you don’t sound like a jackass in print. In this case, I was about to say that the singer (whose name I found is Joe Gittleman) from Avoid One Thing sounds like a tuneful Dicky Barrett from Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Then, I learned Gittleman is in Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Ahh. Well, okay then. I would hope bands I review are pleased to know I usually listen to their records with few preconceptions of the music. But then, maybe their publicists are annoyed to know how little I consult bios and press kits.

Anyway, Avoid One Thing play a pretty roughneck blue-collar punk rock. They’ve got the hammering guitar of Social Distortion but tempered with some of the literate navel-gazing of Jawbreaker. The tunes are strong and there’s more than a few that will get caught in your head. “Bomb-building Songs,” “Slip 78,” and “Backyard Joey” — each has a pretty distinctive hook. What troubles me is that I can’t figure out if the first song “Yakisoba” makes the album better or worse for its appearance.

“Yakisoba,” with its catchy guitar riffs, easy melodies and nostalgic-sounding lyrics, is one of those songs that easily outshines the rest of the album so much that one wonders if its goodness has just bled into the rest of the songs. If they’d left it off, would the collection lack a real stand-out? Or would the rest of the songs stand out on their own? Or am I the only one who ponders such stupid questions? The ultimate answer (for me) is that the remainder of songs are strong enough on their own. I find myself replaying “Yakisoba” over and over, but I still go on to the rest of the record. It’s definitely not the only good song here, but I can’t help wondering how I’d feel if they’d put it last in the running order and I’d had my ass kicked so hard at the end of the set. Would I have been blown away even more? Hmm.. Nah, I think you must defer to the rock standard which is kick-ass right out of the gate.