The Great Divide

Punchbuggy - The Great Divide ©2002 Does Everyone Stare?
1. Same
2. Way To Go
3. Kids Say
4. Rock And Roll Fantasy
5. Easy To Leave
6. Heart Attack
7. Just Another Day
8. Want You More
9. Lucky Me Lucky You
10. Marianne
11. The Great Divide

Punchbuggy is one of those innocuous, but fun, melodic rock bands who are so darned ear friendly that Dad wouldn't mind hiring them for his daughter's sweet sixteen birthday party. Don't hold that against the band or immediately rush off to read reviews of something more dangerous, like Arcturus. Punchbuggy's The Great Divide is an incredibly catchy, bouncy record in the vein of Big Drill Car or All Systems Go! Every so often, even the most curmudgeonly of curmudgeons needs a nifty, dandy sing-along record that simply exudes poppiness. And although that comment just scared off another chunk of readers off to find out more about Ildjarn, remember that pop music, when done right, is a downright good experience.

Punchbuggy has been toiling around Canada for a number of years. The Great Divide is their first record for Does Everyone Stare?. As stated above, one can easily compare this band to the poppy-punky goodness of both Big Drill Car and All Systems Go! (The fact that those two bands have members in common have nothing to do with anything, I swear.) The emphasis is on catchy melodies, hooks and grabby choruses, sticking to a midpaced approach. Sure, it's pretty simple stuff, but fans of technical rock probably should go find out more about Gordian Knot. Singer/guitarist Andrew Kieran has a voice that has hints of Offspring's Dexter Holland (without going for the high, trilling notes), Frank Daly and Anthrax's John Bush. No, really. Kieran could step in for Bush on an Anthrax tour and give a more than passable performance. In fact, maybe that could be a second job while Bush is off doing Armored Saint reunions. But I digress. Punchbuggy has the songwriting ability to make the listener feel immediately at home with these songs. On the first listen, you may very well be singing along with all the choruses.

As said earlier, The Great Divide and Punchbuggy aren't redefining rock music's entire idiom. Rather, they're sticking to what they do best and doing a mighty fine job of it. While they won't be challenging John Zorn for utter musical deconstruction anytime ever, Punchbuggy fulfills a need for catchy, goodtime punky rock music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2003

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