Monday, 5 March 2018

Album Review: I Don't Wanna Be Smart by Rock 'N' Roll Television

It's kind of ridiculous that it's now March and I'm still reviewing releases that were released in December of 2017. My gosh a lot of good material was released at the end of last year. The subject of today's really late review comes from Montreal, Canada, in the form of pop punk band Rock 'N' Roll Television. Influenced by the likes of The Ramones, The Queers, Screeching Weasel, The Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket, I had a feeling I was really going to enjoy this EP. It's called I Don't Wanna Be Smart, by the way.

I Don't Wanna Be Smart begins with Where's EJ? As you might assume given the band's influences, the song starts like Usain Bolt at a starters whistle and doesn't relent until it reaches its finishing line. It features high pitched almost Brian Wilson like vocals and some delicious harmonies. Despite the frantic pace that the song is played at, I have no problems keeping up with the song and singing along - particularly with its insanely catchy chorus. The second song is named Shark Attack and from the opening guitars you immediately hear the Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket influence. There is an interesting contrast on Shark Attack with its fast paced pop punk and a little bit of 60s rock 'n' roll added to the mix. You won't find many more simple or catchy choruses around than the repetitive shouts of "shark, shark, shark attack" that take up the majority of the second half of the song. It's as if Rock 'N' Roll Television are on a personal mission to make sure that the song is embedded into your brain. Up next is I Wanna Be With You. This is of course a love song, no pop punk release is complete without one. The song starts out slower than the previous songs allowing the lyrics and melody to stand out. When we get to the chorus, it is again brilliantly simple and if "shark, shark, shark attack" doesn't get lodged into your head then the line "I wanna be with you" most probably will. Last up is the EP's title track, I Don't Wanna Be Smart. This track starts out with a cool guitar riff and some hand claps before picking up the pace for some Lookout Record era pop punk fun. Let's skip straight to the end of the song for my favourite part of the song and potentially the entire EP - those incredible (I think) three part harmonies that finish the song off after the band let you believe the song is finished. I'm such a sucker for a harmony and Rock 'N' Roll Television absolutely nailed it on this track.

Rock 'N' Roll Television released a excellent piece of pop punk. It's never going to change the world with thought provoking lyrics or even have the musicianship to make you just sit in awe but it makes me happy and do big smiles. For me that's the most important thing in music. Perfect escapism that makes you forget about all of the problems in your life and the world. Need to smile? Go and check out this EP.

Stream and download I Don't Wanna Be Smart here:

Like Rock 'N' Roll Television here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.