Answering Machine “Bad Luck”
We were a bit worried when we heard that Answering Machine included two teachers in the band. That made us feel old and also had us thinking if we could remember any of our teachers who were ‘cool’ enough to be in a decent band. However, the fact that this band are named after a Replacements song was more than enough to make us check out this album.
Opening number “Riverdale” is a great slice of power pop. It’s then followed by “Bad Luck” which just adds even more melody into the mix. Things get even catchier with “Bubblegum”, a song which is (as you’d hope) a great slice of bubblegum pop. Indeed, along with the fizzy pop of “Cherry Coke” these are tracks which remind us of Redd Kross at their throwaway pop best.
For those who prefer a more raucous sound a la The Replacements then you are well served by tracks like “This Year” and “Marie”. Although the band are really at their best when they perfectly mix the rocking guitars with sweet power pop melodies like on the irresistible “Hollywood Smog” and “Wet Blanket”. Keeping up the Redd Kross reference, we’re now moving on to Phaseshifter era! The other thing we love about Answering Machine is the way they switch between male and female lead vocals, it just brings an extra dynamic to the band’s sound. A point emphasised when they move on to the melancholic sound of “Someplace”, a song that Evan Dando would be proud of and they also gets extra brownie points for referencing the New York Dolls.
There’s certainly an early 90’s alternative rock sound to this album (a sound which thankfully seems to be coming back with a vengeance). But overall, this album is just a joy to listen to. It’s a great blend of catchy rock songs played with drive and passion. It would seem that these teachers are in fact ‘too cool for school’!