The Max Levine Ensemble – Them Steadily Depressing, Low Down Mind Messing, Post Modern Recession Blues The Max Levine Ensemble – Them Steadily Depressing, Low Down Mind Messing, Post Modern Recession Blues

The Max Levine Ensemble - Them Steadily Depressing, Low Down Mind Messing, Post Modern Recession Blues

Every year or so, I hear a band that completely changes a genre for me. When I first heard the Max Levine Ensemble’s 2008 LP Ok, Smartypants I wasn’t really impressed. But then it grew on me. A lot. It’s now definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. In an era where pop-punk means bands on MTV with their hair spiked and gelled singing about their broken hearts and study halls, the Max Levine Ensemble is a welcomed retreat to the heartful, angsty art form pop-punk was thirty years ago. That is, not to say that their sound is derivative or old in any way.

This last year, the band released this EP on tape and vinyl only (how cool is that?!), with a download card coming with both. It’s really good. While some might find David Combs’, the band’s singer and guitar, voice a tad high-pitched annoying, when coupled with his brilliant lyrics, it’s evident he’s the most sincere voice in punk rock. Whether it’s railing against priviledged youths (“heir to the throne, you thought this world was yours to take, but now i’m dedicated to making you think twice”) or a sinking boat (“they’re just filling holes with fingers and toes while the water breaks through doors, we’re going down”), Combs writes some of the best lyrics in music today.

Aside from the lyrics, the music is top-notch as well. Their infectious blend of 80’s hardcore with pop inflections makes one want to jump up and down and attack the nearest authority figure. Switching between the high voice of Combs and the angsty yell of bassist Ben Epstein, the vocals never bore. While the guitar work lends to the genre (three chords, limited leads, etc.), it’s all done at hyper speed with creative mutes and clicks unique to the band, with Epstein’s bass bumping along with the rhythm.

Basically, what I’m saying is, buy this EP. If you don’t have a tape player or turntable, download this EP. If you like, buy Ok, Smartypants.

Tracklist:
1. The Lucky
2. Creative Destruction
3. This Is Rome, And We Are…
4. The Bribe
5. The Tragedy Of The Anti-Commons

The Max Levine Ensemble - Them Steadily Depressing, Low Down Mind Messing, Post Modern Recession Blues, reviewed by Jesser on 2010-12-08T15:02:30+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5



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