None More Black – File Under Black

None More Black
File Under Black

Jason Shevchuck left Kid Dynamite in 2000 to pursue school and a career in film, but he couldn’t stay away for very long. He started writing songs again, flushed them out with his bass-playing roommate, found a drummer, and got his brother to play guitar. Five drummers and a three-song 7″ later, it all lead to the creation of the new band’s debut full-length, File Under Black. The results are a little tough to pin down, because there are a few contrasting elements involved, but that should be considered a compliment in this case.
The opener, “Everyday Balloons,” is a rip-roaring punk romp. The rhythms are quick, the vocals are gravelly, the guitars are shredding, and the lyrics are filled with angst. It’s a great way to kick off the album, and the band barely stops for breath before ripping into “Dinner’s for Suckers,” an equally fast-paced number but one that has a much stronger emphasis on melody. “The Ration of People to Cake” is downright furious, sounding as passionate yet accessible as any punk song around right now, and then it’s time for a bit of a break. “Never Heard of Corduroy” is a more mid-tempo and melodic number, complete with a punchy guitar solo and “woo hoo hoo” background vocals, while “Banned From Teen Arts” picks up the speed a bit, but remains far poppier than the opening tracks, like the Beach Boys got together for a jam session with Good Riddance, or something crazy like that. “Risk Management” returns to the edgier and more angst-ridden rants, but is quickly countered by the perky “Drop the Pop.”
And things go on this way throughout all 14 tracks, so I won’t bore you by writing about every single one. It’s not that the songs aren’t interesting, it’s just that reading “This one is heavy, then this one is poppy, then this one is heavy…” over and over again probably isn’t at the top of your list of things to do today. It would be much more effective to say that the album does a fine job of blending the pop with the punk. The guitar hooks are infectious but chugging, the vocals are abrasive but melodic, and the rhythms are furious but playful and driving.
These are the sort of songs that virtually force you to raise your clenched fist in the air and shout along, and if you’re a fan of many Fat Wreck bands, this one is certainly not going to disappoint you. Many bands attempt to blend hardcore, rock, punk, and pop, but few of them pull it off quite like this.