Pentimento Paper & Plastick/Black Numbers album review: The Buffalo punks are alive and well

By MICHAEL POWELL
On November 27, 2012

  • Senior Kevin Smith buries his opponent in the mat. Smith’s final win at Alumni Arena would not be enough for Bulls to beat the Bobcats. Yeo Jung Lee /// The Spectrum

Artist: Pentimento

Album: Pentimento

Label: Paper & Plastick/Black Numbers

Release Date: Nov. 13

Grade: B

Pentimento has accomplished a rarely achievable feat most other local bands can only dream of in the back of their '98 Chevy vans: the band has succeeded outside of the Buffalo scene.

The band had only asix-track EP, Wrecked, under its belt so far, but its first full-length self-titled LP has given fans anothertaste of themodern pop punk they've grown to love and expect from the Buffalo natives.

Pentimento's album features a style of music that will remind eager fans of the Brand New's earlier records. Without straining or feeling contrived, Pentimento's sound consists of emotionally rich vocals and songwriting that swings between being gritty and even harsh at times to soft, wonderful vocal melodies.           

This difference is heard clearly on the first two tracks, "Unless" and "Circles."

"Unless" starts the album off with a kick in the stomach through its punk sensibilities. It begins with a chugging guitar riff in the first few seconds that swells into a familiar punk force. With clashing guitars and a high tempo rhythm, the song is a high-energy, solid outing for an album opener.

This leads into the much more subtle and melodic "Circles." Instead of thrashing guitar riffs for an opening, "Circles" comes to life with a sweeping, clean guitar that sounds almost poetic and somber. The rest of the track carries the same lighter guitar tone but also makes sure to add enough grit behind it so as not to turn it into a sappy mess.

This balance of tone throughout the song allows singer/guitarist Jeramiah Pauly's vocals to have more of an impact. He sings with conviction and emotion while conveying the hardships of dealing with someone who is full of broken promises.

His singing straddles the same tone as the guitars - aggressive and light by employing a tactic where he will switch singing with clean vocals to using angrier vocals where he's close to shouting.

These two songs set the groundwork for the rest of the record. Tracks like "Conscience (Consequence)," "Almost Atlantic" and "Subtle Words" incorporate a melodic and softer sound that cleaves through the rest of the record's harsher, more abrasive tone.

The aggressive and fast tempo punk sound and the slower more matured take on pop punk that Pentimento brings blend well throughout the album. However, there are some parts where the record could improve on this tonal balancing act.

But as the band's first full-length album, it's actually nice to see room for improvement.

If the band members are able to play and sound this well on their first LP, then in a few record's time they should have everyone searching Buffalo for the next big punk group.

Pentimento currently has its album available for free download on its website and will be playing the Bug Jar in Rochester on Nov. 29.

 

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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