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Custom Made Scare's album, Greatest Show on Dirt sounds as if it is a blend of punk, greaser music, and country/rockabilly, and it's very fast. They remind me of the Turbo AC's, not that I'm a huge fan of them. I appreciate the shortness of the songs, that's sort of a breath of fresh air from some bands who think their songs are so good they have to go on and on. They seem to be influenced by "Fresh Fruit" era Dead Kennedys or some elements of the more "roots" music of X. The production is clear and crisp, but the music and performance is unimpressive.
I thought the band name was okay. It's at least interesting. I really like the artwork very much. It probably impressed me more than any other artwork of bands whose material I've reviewed. The "thank you" list is way too long. All bands, especially successful ones, have a lot of people to thank, but I always just find it so cheesy to thank them ALL. Name-dropping much?
This seems like another of those straight-up "rock" bands that is fun and energetic live, but flat and boring and unoriginal on record. I can at least vouch for the second part of that statement. I guess every band can't be Nation of Ulysses. Musically they're good and tight, and hit all the right notes when they're supposed to, and everything sounds fine. They're just nothing special, so what's the point? Their lyrics are also not only poorly written at times, but the subject matter seems to promote pretty sad and degenerate behavior, which turns me off. I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but it's one thing not to live a life that's completely clean and full of virtue, but it's another thing to promote that lifestyle in your lyrics. Why idealize the fact that you're a "rock & roll scumbag"? Don't be such a cliché.
The guitar play is especially unimpressive. With everything else so tight, structured, simple, and straight-forward you'd think it would leave room for the guitar to loosen up and try some interesting things. It sounds as if they recorded both lead and rhythm parts, but left only the rhythm tracks.
The last song is a fast paced energetic instrumental that is possibly the highlight of the CD. Another thing I appreciate about the CD was its length, about 20 minutes, and I don't mean that to be sarcastic or obnoxious. More bands should do the same. Get over themselves and just give you the best, most rocking stuff they have. For a band that sounds somewhat similar, but worlds better, try the first album by the Amazing Royal Crowns.
Matt Peterson is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.