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Butterknife | Do The Needful

album review by John Powell

Butterknife | Do The Needful

Butterknife fulfills the kid that grew up in the 90s’ need for crunchy, crisp, fast and undaunted pop punk. We grew up on Blink 182, Weezer, and Foo Fighters, after all. Butterknife already have a full-length album under their belt, but the power trio is back with this vicious EP. It’s amazing how much a bass, guitar, and drums can do, especially when dirpping in feedback and mixed well. Do The Needful will, if you let it, take over your stereos for a while, and become that album you return to whenever you crave that sound.

Now, Do The Needful is an EP, so it’s just enough for those that get bored by full-length albums, and also enough for those who like living out an entire recording experience. “$100” kicks things off with a familiar four-four drum beat and P-bass flowing off the fret board. The guitar is all power chords and full-bodied high end fury, but the boys trade in noise for catchiness. It’s pop punk at its finest, although they advertise themselves as rock. Singer Phil Wisdom has the ironic, dry tenor of Stephen Malkmus. “I made a telephone out of cups and strings/told your girlfriends everything,” he sings. “Every woman to a man/destroys him,” he adds in the chorus. “Every woman passing by is poison.”

“Coatails” makes you smile, bob your head, and maybe throw a fist in the air. Jim Theordore is a no nonsense drummer. He rocks exactly as much as he needs to, here twisting disco beats into punk propulsion ala Guided By Voices. “I never know/how many ways they’ll try,” Phil says. “Althogh we got nothing left/they’ll ride our coattails.” It zings. It really does.

Kieran Stone’s bass is always high in the mix (yeah!). He really has a lot of fun filling in any gaps, creating the atmosphere, like on “June 4”, where the music is a slower Surfer Blood type of pondering.

Enough with the comparisons of other indie rock bands already! Well, that stems from the fact that if you like any of those mentioned, (Pavement, GBV, etc.), then Do The Needful will make you really happy. Granted, they stick with this sound one hundred percent. They don’t try on too many guitar effects. They don’t love guitar solos. Their three minute songs keep to verses, choruses, and bridges without too many jams or reinventions, “June 4” being an exception, when they reach 80s punk heights of rocking out.

Butterknife aren’t in it to totally throw listeners off guard. They like to play loud and write introverted, about real world stuff. A keytrack is “Restless”, which hits every catchy nerve in the ear and brain. The chorus bites like a Sourpatch Kid. Do The Needful is like that: candy, but with less sugar and more flavor.

Bottom line: Pop punk power trio release an EP or energetic radio-ready gems? I’m in.



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