Sunday January 21st 2018

The Only Things – “Hit List”


The Only Things – “Hit List”


I saw The Replacements, along with Andy, at The Rat back in the early eighties. I state this because I’ve seen people’s jaws drop when I mention that. For us it was just another weekend show at The Rat. Meaning we heard some band from Chicago or Texas or Minneapolis was playing and though, we hadn’t heard of them, we were told they were great.

I have no recollection of that show, ask Andy, he was probably less wasted at the time and remembers shows much better than I do, but we did see so many shows that it’s kind of a blur.

And I bring this up because I’m once again reviewing The Only Things and I haven’t a clue if The Replacements are an influence, but if not they easily could be. Why? Because this s another band that has well-written, well crafted songs with revealing, heart on your sleeve lyrics that you could easily label as “pop.” But, because they have so much grit and energy, so much realness and passion, underlining their songs, that I think the more appropriate category is punk.

I called them “punk’n’roll” in my last review and I call them that here. They’re satisfied with rock’n’roll in their facebook description and I won’t quibble with that.

I will listen to their current release. Care to join me?

After a blurry, backwards tape beginning “Hit List” gets in your face with a rockin’, slammin’ rhythm and resounding power chords along with a modest, effective guitar line. “I never do the things that I want to, there’s nothing left here and I’m telling you, too. There’s no time, I have no time.” A definite, English post-punk vibe hangs in the air. “I never thought I could be a misogynist, destroy your self-possession, if I only could.” This songs drives on with an effective, echo-y guitar solo bouncing off the parameters of this song, that pulses with new wave urgency, boisterous rhythms and hardcore like gang vocals, too. “Wooh-oh-oh. I want you back.” I want more songs that are as great as this one.

With a blast of drum rolls, electric energy burning, low level bass and high strung guitar, “Replace Me,” springs forward with another groovin’, swingin’ pace. “Summer’s come and gone, and you didn’t show. Did we have a fight? Sometimes I never know. When the give and take becomes push and shove.” This is another melodic, buoyant song that indicates incisive lyrics are about to burst through along the rushing energy. The rhythm pushes with a passion that the present world has learned to forget. “You couldn’t stand up straight, or answer your phone. You couldn’t find the door, you couldn’t find your drugs.” The music bangs and bashes while the emotions spill out of the speakers while an excellent, abrasive guitar solo barges in. “You never knew the truth, so how could you lie? I keep my own world straight, I could say I tried. For any chance you take, or any kind of ride. Don’t throw your self away, don’t throw your self away.” Those lines hit poignant and true in my life and should with you, as well. Amazing song, one of the best I’ve heard this year.

“Your Walk Home,” is the kind of song I avoid choosing for my selections. Though it may be good, I feel, it’s the least representative of the styles that TNB represent so I usually ignore it. And this is a slow, waltz number with glossy, guitar licks but- it reminds me of the early new wave band, Television, at its best, and when the chorus comes in with its shimmering beauty, I have no recourse but to include this gem, too. This is a beautiful fucking song.

“The Quiet Men” starts with some clanging, discordant guitar chords, then some insistent drum beats that explode with some demolishing guitar chords that suggest Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” will arise. But instead, at the last moment, we’re brought into a dense, intense verse that is clamorous and leads to a land that is grand but chorus less. This tune just churns and burns and is another winner.

With some barking, back alley guitar chords leading “I Hate True Love,” on, an excellent Buzzcocks like lead guitar comes marching in. “Do you want a moment frozen in time? Because your laughter cannot injure me,” is the pleasant, positive start of this song. “Leave me alone with all my weaknesses, forget all those who fall behind.” Leads onto dark, guitar passages along with dark, lyrical phrases. “Threw myself against the wall so many times, this soft concussion makes me think of you.” The drums pound relentlessly, the guitars blare with energy and the vocals rip and burn to end this great recording.

In a prefect world I’d be telling you that The Only Things could be the “next big thing,” the next band to break out of Boston.

But too many years have passed, the record companies have crumbled, fallen into the seas, except for the few churning out the usual pop/pap.

In a perfect world I’d be telling you this band has songs that are not only worthy of punk, because of the passion, truth and energy they embody, but a commercial appeal, as well. That doesn’t cancel out or diminish any of my superlatives.

This is not a perfect world. And maybe, this is not a perfect album. But though the world I feel, is flawed beyond belief, this is an album that is very close to perfection. One that deserves more attention and recognition that it can get from here (TNB).

But I think great art doesn’t need glory, money or a pat on the back, though, it certainly deserves it.

I think, it just needs to be.


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