Mikey Erg is a name that needs no introduction to the punk scene. But just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past ten years: Mikey Erg rose to prominence as the drummer and vocalist of The Ergs! before moving on to a million other projects including, but certainly not limited to, House Boat, The Slow Death, Psyched to Die, Worriers, Pale Angels, Short Attention, Star Fucking Hipsters, and sometimes a touring member of The Dopamines. Warren Franklin, on the other hand, is a name that may need an introduction, depending on which parts of the scene you’re hanging out in. He’s primarily known as the vocalist / founding member of Warren Franklin and the Founding Fathers.
Now that you’re familiar with both men, you’re ready for their new, four song split that they just put out together on Count Your Lucky Stars. Erg and Franklin contribute two songs each, one original song, and a cover of the other. Erg starts off his side with a cover of Franklin’s “You’ve Never Heard ‘My Aim Is True’”. If it hadn’t been labeled as a cover, or if you are unfamiliar with the original, as I was prior to listening to this release, it could be understood for mistaking the song as an original. The lyrical framework, from the melodic flow to the name-dropping and references to the likes of Elvis Costello and Brian Wilson, are eerily similar to Erg’s compositions, and the musical structure (which loses the kind of twangy lead of the original, but otherwise remains untouched) wouldn’t sound out of place on any of Erg’s solo, rock-based projects (or even parts of Upstairs/Downstairs). Erg’s second contribution, “Three Cheers for the Liberty Bell” is a hard hitting rock song with a driving guitar progression
Warren Franklin’s side is lighter in tone. His new song for this split, “Please Return”, turns down the distortion that Erg left on, and replaces it with more jangly guitars. Lyrically, however, it doesn’t stray far from the path that was laid down both Erg and Franklin himself in the previous tracks. Anyone who is already familiar with Franklin’s band will enjoy the new material, but it’s also a great starting point for newcomers. The split ends with a cover of the Ergs!’s “See Him Again” (off of the aforementioned Upstairs/Downstairs), which rocks harder than “Please Return”. It’s a pretty faithful cover, but it’s such a great song that it hardly matters that it’s not much different outside of Franklin’s vocals (there is a reason, after all, why the song has become a staple of Erg’s live sets). And much like Erg’s cover, if one were to (somehow) be unfamiliar with the Ergs! version of the song, it would be easy to mistake it as a Franklin original.
Based on these songs, both originals and covers alike, It’s clear that these two complement each other’s songwriting. So much, in fact, that It wouldn’t be surprising if they decide to join forces later in the future, either with Erg joining The Founding Fathers, or just forming a new project together. Or possibly both, it’s hard to know if Erg can ever be satisfied with the amount of bands he’s in. Regardless, this split is an excellent time for everyone involved, the listener included.
4 / 5 Stars
RIYL: If you like Mikey Erg and at least half of his bands, you’ll probably like this