As a millennial, sometimes I fear that I missed out on the Golden Age of split records between punk bands. From what I can tell, splits used to be a necessity in the scene- the costs of recording were much easier to cover if multiple bands were chipping in, and since it was unknown if the bands involved would release any new material, it was likely that they would give it their best on each of their contributions. Nowadays it just feels like too many bands will just toss a b-side or two onto a split, and call it a day. All too often, it seems as if songs off of splits just wind up on the inevitable b-sides collection and rarely ever get played live, so it’s curious to me why punk bands still hold on to this tradition.
I’m speaking generally, of course, as there have been some great splits in the last few years. The Methadones and The Copyrights Split LP was fantastic, and after a period of silence Broadway Calls came out wildly swinging on Vision Quest, their split EP with Mixtapes (the same can’t exactly be said about the Mixtapes half). And then there’s both theBYO Split series, and Under the Influence series. So of course not all recent splits come off as cheap and rushed ways to put out unreleased tracks, but unfortunately the new 4-Way split between pop punk acts Weekend Dads, The Murderburgers, The Fat Stupids, and The Hemingways does come off as one of those rush jobs.
All of this isn’t to say that 4-Way Split is terrible. The contributions from Weekend Dads and The Murderburgers (“Podium” and “High Five”, respectively) are both top notch, with the former being a snotty sonic attack almost in the vein of The Dopamines, and the latter acting as a preview to the band’s upcoming album, These Are Only Problems. However, The Fat Stupids come off as sounding as if Dan Vapid sang in Screeching Weasel in “Not Fair” (which isn’t even an unreleased song, being taken from the band’s No Fun EP) and “I’ll Be at Toots Shor’s” by The Hemingways is a song that… well, it’s a song that exists. Old school pop punk may not have the overproduced guitars and nasally vocals of mainstream pop punk bands, but as The Fat Stupids and The Hemingways prove, it can be just as formulaic and, quite frankly, boring. I’d still take both bands over All Time Low any day, but if the nicest thing that can be said about them is that they will make you want to listen to Wiggle instead, there’s a bit of a problem. .
With Weekend Dads having appeared on Adeline Records’ The Thing That Ate Larry Livermore compilation, and The Murderburgers recently signing to the renowned Asian Man Records, there’s the chance that they’ll have entered into the consciousness of the punk scene just enough for this split to get picked up by a couple of radars, but I wouldn’t count on it making any huge splashes. If this were just a split between the first two bands, I might be a little more lenient because of how fun both songs are, but the second half drags it down and feels like it was tacked on just because the bands play similarly to each other. I’m sure that the sub-subculture of the “Ramones-core” scene will love this release, but everyone else would be better off just waiting for either the new Murderburgers album to drop or for Weekend Dads to release a full length.
2 / 5 (You can listen to it below and tell me how wrong I am).