First Class – Somewhere In The Grey (CD)

Coming through with a sound not unlike a mixture of Ten Foot Pole and JFT, break-neck guitars come through with the benefit of pushing the emotive lyrics of Andy even more quickly through the track. With the same sort of spirit that surrounds bands like Brookside, First Class puts two and two together and comes up with a mish-mash of two of the most well-liked off-shoots of punk rock: pop-punk and emo. The breakdowns of a track like “Any More Lonely” provide extra emphasis on the stanza immediately following it – the highs of the stanzas work perfectly with the lows of the breakdowns. Immediately recognizable as the crux of the band, the guitar assault by Andy and Matt find themselves challenged by the intricacies of Mike’s drum during the second track, “501”. Coming through in a big way as well during “501” was the previously lost bass played by Adam – as affecting as the opening track is on “Somewhere in the Grey”; “501” re-writes the book and pushes the band into a much more coherent sound.

Starting out fairly paint-by-the-numbers during “In This Silence”, the bass drumming works well in providing a timing aspect to the band that is completely shot to hell by the differing time signatures that show yet another side to First Class. While some may say that “In This Silence” is too cluttered with each individual member trying to accomplish something different, First Class are talented enough to render a masterpiece out of pitiful chaos. “November 15” is the one track on “Somewhere in the Grey” that continually pulls at listener’s heart strings; even though Andy’s vocals are rendered with the same tempo as the rest of the disc, lyrics like “It’s not like everyday you see an angel face to face” show that Andy has put everything into this one track.

First Class is a band that deserves any positive publicity that they can receive – talented, powerful, hard-hitting, all while creating a sound that draws people because of soul, because of musicianship and because of an infectious sound that hearkens back to some of the best bands of our time – Weezer, Jawbreaker, early Green Day, and the like while not sounding dated. Six songs is simply not enough to be sated by what should be the next act to break it big out of Chicago – don’t take my advice for it, check out “Somewhere in the Grey”.

Top Track: Same Side

Rating: 8.9/10

First Class – Somewhere In The Grey / 2004 Johanns Face Records / 6 Tracks / http://www.firstclassrocks.com / http://www.johannsface.com/ Reviewed 07 November 2004

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