Joe Coffee

When The Fabric Don't Fit The Frame

Written by: PP on 17/03/2009 13:39:05

Usually I don't like to quote much from the promotional sheets that we receive alongside with new releases because they all tend to be full of over-inflated hype based on the wildest dreams of the marketing executives. But today I've decided to pull out two quotes about Joe Coffee and their new album "When The Fabric Don't Fit The Frame", because they describe the band better than I ever could. Apparently Joe Coffee also share our passionate hate for people who mistakenly believe throwing roundhouse kicks around at a concert is 'hardcore' as well, but here's the deal: "We're not reinventing the wheel, here folks. It's rock. It's punk. It's soul. It's what you get out of it [...] The heart is still broken, the wallet is still empty, and the bottle is still battled. Only now, instead of having a bunch of fat, sweaty hooligans glomming the front of the stage in a neo-barbaric dogpile, you wouldn't be hard pressed to see a fine young lady up front singing along and shakin' what she got." Kudos for saying out loud. Another quote goes "with the ridiculous garbage that pollutes the radio waves today, it's reaffirming to hear a band like Joe Coffee staying true to the roots of rock 'n' roll while still being fresh and interesting. Highly recommended to anyone who is sick of the whiny crap that dominates MTV and and likes their rock 'n' roll to have some talent and meaning behind it."

If you didn't guess already based on those two descriptions, Joe Coffee play medium-tempo, raspy punk rock heavily influenced by the late 90s work of the legendary Hot Water Music (it seems we are referencing those guys in every review these days, and it's for a reason). Especially the first three songs ("Dear Detta", "Don't Sweat It, Steal It", "Don't Call Her A Bitch") have me thinking that; they are full of chunky bass lines, relaxed but complex riffing, and the vocalist really uses that scratchy, raspy half sing-half scream singing style exactly according to the teachings of Chuck Ragan. But unlike most other punk rock bands, Joe Coffee don't feel the need to throw in a breakneck speed drum beat, to have politically charged lyrics or any other cliché bullshit like that. Fact is, "When The Fabric Don't Fit The Frame" is entirely straight forward, bullshit-free music precisely for those who want to stay as far away from the 'scene' music as humanly possible. This even though the latter half of the album sees Joe Coffee borrow lots instrumentally from now-defunct Bear Vs Shark, but I guess that band was never considered scene anyway: "Second String To your Second Best" and especially "Don't Want This No More" bring out the same relaxed vibe as said band did on all tracks. Then we've got "Baby's Coming Home Today", which sounds a lot like Attack In Black did in "Marriage", complete with great percussion and even some trumpets on the background, therefore nominating the song as one of the highlights on the record.

But although the record is based on a great premise with the Hot Water Music / Bear Vs Shark type of sound and all, I feel like it lacks somewhat in execution. There are a few excellent tracks on the disc (the ones mentioned above), but the middle point of the album feels like a bit of a lull. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what Joe Coffee are doing wrong there, but the songs just aren't as sneakily catchy and don't emit the same kind of brutal honesty and love for music as the songs in the beginning and the end of the record do. That being said, I think it'd be unfair to grade the band lowly just because a few songs don't work out as well as I hoped them to, because there are still more than a handful of great songs that do great justice to the band's influences.

Download: Don't Sweat It Steal It, Done And Done, Don't Call Her A Bitch
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Bear Vs Shark, Attack In Black
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.03.2009
I Scream Records

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