Weights and Measures – Tonight, the Lower Abdominals EP

Weights and Measures
Tonight, the Lower Abdominals EP

I’d like everyone reading this to imagine the upcoming five words as spoken by the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons: Best … Song titles … Ever. EVER.

When I first looked at Tonight, the Lower Abdominals, my co-workers and I laughed for a good 10 minutes over tracks names like “My God Can Beat Up Your God,” “A Most Efficient Method of Removing the Pants,” and “The Weekend is for Making Babies.” The rest of the cardboard packaging is just as crazy, ranging from old style images of women in girdles and working out to proclamations of “Don’t Be Skinny!” The wonderful picture of a man and woman dancing is accentuated by his declaration, “Gosh, Jean, you sure are popular since you put on those extra pounds!” Plainly put, this CD packaging rocks harder than Wesley Willis after a three-day medication-less bender.

Unfortunately for Weights and Measures, though, the music contained therein isn’t quite as attention grabbing. It’s not that the band doesn’t have something cool going here, because the disc sounds good and the music is well-played. For some reason, though, this EP just seems to be missing some sort of spark. The band does manage to pull everything together for a nice listening experience with “A Most Efficient Method of Removing the Pants,” which is the longest and most decidedly ’emo’ track on this release. The guitar and bass parts create a slow sense of tension in the first minute before changing up to a solid groove that ends in a mess of random chords. The track meanders a bit, then slows down to create a dreamy two-minute ending piece with delicate guitars and lulling bass. The drums, of course, are all over the place and then some for the slowdown, creating an intense, yet strangely relaxing vibe. When the drums finally settle down, the guitars take control and lead the song into a soft wind down.

Although nothing on this EP is unlistenable, nothing else really compares to “Pants.” “My God Can Beat Up Your God” and “The Overstated Drummer is Always Given to Hyperbole” are sub-two minute guitar flurries that ultimately go nowhere, and while “The Economics of Looking Good” rolls along at a crisp pace, it never really reaches out and grabs the ears. “Yes As In Meaning No” is a little harder than the other tracks, creating a cool texture swirl when the song smoothly switches to a dreamy guitar sound mid-track. “The Weekend is For Making Babies” ends things on a fuzzy note, featuring some cool guitar work and a bit more of the ‘dreamy’ feel that worked on “Pants.”

All in all, Tonight, the Lower Abdominals is a decent enough listen, though I doubt anything the band could have recorded would have been more interesting than the song titles and CD packaging. It just seems as if something is missing from these songs, because something about them is just too docile to reach out and pull a listener in. Judging by the tone of the songs, I’m not exactly sure Weights and Measures was going for a passive approach here. Yes, there’s one really good track and two others that are worth a listen or two, but with only 14 minutes of material, there really shouldn’t be any low points. My official opinion? Eh. Instrumental junkies would probably ‘get’ this release a lot more than I did.