Steven Neufeld

Craig's OTHER Brother

Written by: PP on 26/06/2021 12:43:44

Clever marketing to call your album "Craig's OTHER Brother" when you are in fact a guitarist in the seminal melodic punk rock band Craig's Brother. I'll take it though because Steven Neufeld's sophomore album under his own moniker is exactly the sort of late 90s inspired melodicore that was all the rage during the genre's heydey. Harmonious vocals, high tempo, and plenty of energetic guitar shredding on songs like "I Swear To You" take you right back to Lagwagon's 90s output, which was originally cited as the key Craig's Brother influence anyway.

Some genres don't need fixing nor innovation, good songs are enough. With skate punk godhood like "Recompense" and "Coming Clean", Steven Neufeld underlines that 90s style melodicore isn't going anywhere, landing right at home with No Use For A Name and No Fun At All fans out there. Plenty of other Fat Wreck Chord roster influence is audible throughout, although primarily we're in Lagwagon world. I mean, "Parody" could just as well be a Lagwagon song given how the darkened vocal melody lines go up and down just like Joey Cape and to an extent, Tony Sly did on records like "Let's Talk About Feelings" and "Making Friends".

But let's throw away our rose-colored glasses for a moment and look at the couple of flaws that the record also has. First off, the production is a little bit hit-and-miss. The drums are too low in the background, resulting in flat percussion where more oomph would've been needed. Likewise, the vocal mix could've been higher, but it's not a major issue anyway. A second critique is actually the polar opposite point I was making earlier: if you weren't convinced by melodicore by the 90s albums, Steven Neufeld's record isn't going to be the one to do so either. It's standard fare skate punk with classic Fat Wreck style melodies throughout, yet it's not quite comparable to the genre classics. As such, it remains a record that fans of the genre - such as yours truly - will enjoy as a reminder of the best years in melodic punk rock. And while that's good enough, it's not going to place "Craig's OTHER Brother" near the top of the year-end lists.


Download: Recompense, Coming Clean, I Swear To You
For the fans of: Craig's Brother, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.06.2021
White Russian Records / Thousand Island Records

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