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First Impressions: “Like You Like an Arsonist”

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Thank God for iTunes. It’s how I discovered a real treat in Paris, Texas‘ new album Like You Like an Arsonist. I adore good power pop (think Goo Goo Dolls and Sugar), so when I listened to PTX’s “Bombs Away” I knew I needed to immediately get the rest of the album. All these songs are tight. They ripple with energy. One qualm with my first listen is the lead vocals aren’t super dynamic. There’s no sign of the annoying whining that plagues pop punk and no Pavement droning, but Scott Sherpe is no Bob Mould. Another flaw is there are few real guitar solos. There are some moments when a riff is repeated, but Nolan Treolo and Nick Zinkgraf can play. They could have stretched out a little.

It’s wild knowing a band this good was in my neck of the woods (Madison, WI). Too bad for me it took me this long to discover them.

Below are some thoughts about some of the songs while going through my first listen.

  • “White Eyes”: Has machine gun, Ramones-like riffs and a dab of vocal harmony.
  • “Your Death”: The fluttering notes at the beginning immediately signal no break from the fast pace. Big thick guitar chords in the chorus. I could live without the tempo shift just before the chorus.
  • “Strike My Heart”: The intricate guitar layering and interplay are the key to this song.
  • “One Hot Coma”: Do I detect a snarl in Scott Sherpe’s vocals.
  • “Hip Replacement”: More neat guitar combinations. Power chords with harmonies and stacotto swipes of the strings.
  • “Better Off”: The intro riffs drip with power pop purity. Melody and crunch unite to become fist-pumping, tune-humming yummyness. This is the most “emo” of the songs so far. That’s probably because there are moments of sparse guitar work where I can focus on the lyrics.
  • “Gemini”: Jumpy. Slightly off-kilter rhythm guitar makes for a cleaver change of pace.
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