Pop-punkers have always had a thing for brevity. The average Ramones song clocked in shy of the two minute mark; early Green Day and Blink-182 songs were much the same. New York’s The New Rochelles take that to an almost comic extreme on their new release, “It’s New.” The album, released on Bright and Barrow Records, consists of twelve songs and clocks in at a total of fourteen minutes and thirty-nine seconds. You read that right: twelve songs in under fifteen minutes.
Don’t interpret that critique as a negative. Despite feeling at times like some of the songs are almost over before they started, the songs as present are quite good. Twelve songs of tight, three- and four-chord Ramones-core pop-punk. The band are a three piece, and write the sort of Ramones’-influenced pop punk tunes that bands like the Queers and the Mr. T Experience have made a living on: short, high-energy bursts of pogo power with straightforward lyrics that occasionally sound like they were made up on the spot.
Like “Static Shock,” for example, which is about…wearing socks and walking on a carpeted floor, never knowing quite when the static shock will hit. It’s the kind of song that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn was written completely in the style of improve comedy: “we’ll come up with the three catchy chords and the pogo-inspiring rhythms, somebody throw out a subject matter.” “Tina’s Got A Toothache” is much the same. One can envision Ronnie Rochelle messing around with some chords in the bedroom when his little sister Tina comes home complaining of having a cavity. Not exactly Leonard Cohen material, but what do you want for pop punk?!
Some of the songs get a little more involved. “This Is My LJ” is one man’s ode to his leather jacket. How Ramonesy! “Did Something Bad” outlines exactly what would happen when Ronnie Rochelle would, for example, not say his prayers as a youngster (and sorta indicts his parents preferences for corporal punishment in the process). I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly what a “skunkape” is, but whatever; the song about it is as catchy as it is absurd, and Ronnie completely sells his warning to watch out for the proverbial beast (I’m assuming it’s a beast).
If you’re a fan of the Lookout! Sound from the early 90s, or of Ramones-style pop-punk in general, The New Rochelle’s “It’s New” is going to be right in your short, sweet, catchy-as-hell wheelhouse. While you’re listening to the album, read our exclusive interview with The New Rochelles from last month!