Sixfinger is a band that is into the current revival of emo-rock that bands like Brand New, All-American Rejects, The Good Life, and a number of other bands (many from New Jersey) have been pushing. First off, this album suffers from a compressed recording, which really makes the album feel as if I am listening to it off a tape. Still, there is enough emotion on this album to go and project Sixfinger through any constraints of a recording nature. Dan’s lyrics go so far above the band, much like Trevor’s do in The Good Life, so when certain members of the band repeat somewhat hackneyed phrases, individuals can focus in on Dan’s singing. This situation is prevalent in “Letters From Yesteryear”, but high-energy tracks like the follow-up “Nice Guys Sleep Alone” really do a lot to lessen the effect. With a little better recording, these tracks could be on something like new rock radio or mTV, as this is both done well and exactly what is being played on popular media outlets.
The one key thing to know about “East Side” is that even if the recording is a little on the rough side, each constituent part of the band is captured, whether it be the warm and bouncy bass of Bemis or the lead guitars of Jimmy. Moving into the realm of high school hatreds, “Class of 03’s Best Wishes” is a song that has some odd lyrical breaks – I’m not sure whether or not this is intentional, for if it is intention it would be quite a good show of the seething anger of the narrator in the song. Now, if we just look at the track as a normal track, sure the lyrics are going to sound really odd, with thoughts expressed going through a number of lines, as if the lyrics are a half-step off. The chorus in the song, simply “So lets grab the matches / and burn this place to the ground” parallels the album cover, a number of trophies being burned down.
In the final track, “The Angry Dragon Strikes Back”, the band goes apeshit. That is all there is to it, as the bass completely goes off on a Geddy Lee wank-fest, while a litany of voices pop up during the track, including random screams and the like. While the album sounds good, I don’t really know if is really pushing the envelopes of music – while it may sell tons of albums, I don’t see individuals ten years down the road saying “Man, Sixfinger was out there changing what individuals called music”. I see a strong band, working in the paradigms of the present, but maybe their inventiveness, shown to a small degree on “Dragon”, will be shown on their full length.
Rating : 6.2/10
Top Track: 10-51, Code One
Sixfinger – East Side All-Stars Play Hard / 2003 Rapscallion Records / 11 Songs / http://www.sixfinger.net / http://www34.brinkster.com/rapscallionrec / Reviewed 06 January 2004