Party of One

Thurs Aug 7


Some songwriting dudes spend entire lifetimes attempting to convey their isolation and loneliness. If there's a lesson to be learned from Party of One, a good way to do it is to wax polemic on history's great disasters; for instance, THE HOLOCAUST. Not stoked on understatement, Party of One's recent record, Caught the Blast (Fat Cat), contains no less than three tracks that may or may not be about the most horrific event in modern times. And the vague-ish lyrics in "Six Million Anonymous Deceased," MAY actually make the unsettling analogy between a bad date with a girl and a concentration camp.

More uncomfortable than that, however, is the sense of chest-popping delight that emanates from the trio's music. It kinda doesn't make sense, 'cuz singer/guitarist Eric Fifteen seems resignedly BUMMED, like he's just figured out the nuclear threat's back in fuller effect than Mantronix. (In short, this shit is universal.) His serene voice often cops an anxious, nervy scratch 'n' yawl that crawls all over his insatiable hooks, and calls to mind fellow Minnesotan Sean Na Na. And, as with Sean Na Na, you're taking pleasure in this dude's pain, cause it manifests itself in some unique, jittery guitar pop that's emotive and sometimes funky and wickedly skilled.

Drummer Geoff McCusick and bassist Terrica Kleinknecht (who drums excellently with Portland punks Pom Pom Meltdown) keep Fifteen from coming unhinged, but this music is mostly about tension. Fifteen's statement of intent may as well be the first line on the first song: "You people think you got it bad? Why don't you all just drop dead." Their parts are simple--one chord repeated on the bass, a raucous cymbal hit--as Fifteen strums a blissful chord on the guitar and hollers, "It's a nightmare! It's a nightmare!"