Officer May – Helping Others Help Themselves

Officer May
Helping Others Help Themselves

Officer May are a little too angry to be rock, a little too guitar-driven to be punk, and a little too edgy to be hardcore. But labels aren’t really necessary, are they? Suffice it to say that this Massachusetts band rocks. They’re full of energy and edgy, ripping guitar lines, throbbing bass, and powerful rhythms. Yet unlike their live show, apparently, they don’t go all-out so as to lose cohesion. They manage their pace admirably through this album, never losing control and getting to sped up or enthusiastic for their own good.
In fact, there’s something a big grungy about Officer May. Maybe it’s the emphasis on thick guitar lines and angsty vocals. Maybe it’s just that their songs fall between genres, heavy but not too heavy, that makes me think of high-powered bands like Local H. Fans of all-out guitar-rock will eat this stuff up, but there’s more to it, I think, buried beneath the angry surface.
“The Cancer” kicks off the album with a Fugazi-like bass line and an urgency that’s not repeated anywhere else, as singer Chris Warren belts out, “I want to be the leading cause of cancer.” Much more punk-rock, “A.D.D.” is a high-speed, guitar-driven track that’s fun and fast, while the bass and rhythm again have the lead on the angry, intense “Unsex Complex,” one of the band’s best songs. The driving, edgy guitar lines compliment the drawled, almost shouted vocals on “Proud Parents of an Absolute Zero,” another stellar, power track. Even heavier, “Snake Attack” is sheer volume and aggression, while “Head Down” is more melodic, with less aggression, in a Lazycain sort of style. They throw out the book Stooges-like on “The Stooge,” and “My Heart the Boomerang” is just as punky and in-your-face, especially at the end when Warren is shouting out, “My heart, my heart, my heart, is a, is a boomerang!” And “Misery” closes things off as it starts: intense, aggressive rock, with power chords and crashing rhythms and even some hints of moody melody.
Something about Officer May bothers me. Perhaps they’re not as tight as I keep imagining they should be, or maybe it’s just the fact that, when it comes down to it, this is basically a rock band, and I’m so used to hearing post-rock and emo and so many other nicely pigeonholed genres. That’s not their fault, though. The band has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and a lot of talent, especially in guitar and bass. I definitely want to hear more from this band.