DeNunzio – Continuous Vaudeville

Continuous Vaudeville

I pointed out in my previous reviews of Denunzio’s albums how the Denver band’s approach to straight-out, energetic power-pop/rock seemed based around a love of performing and a straight-forward approach. It sounded like the band was having fun, and thus the music was fun. Production values aren’t first and foremost, and often the band seems willing to go more for noise than precision, and yet somehow that adds to the enjoyment, even giving the albums something of a punk aesthetic.

That’s all still perfectly true for Continuous Vaudeville. It wouldn’t surprise me if the band went into the studio and pumped out this album in a few days. And yet, Continuous Vaudeville is another step ahead of The Three Point Stance, as the band hones its studio efforts and continues to write catchy, fun songs.

The album opens with the pure rocking riffage of “Things We Do,” in which the singer asks, “Is this what it’s come to / after all we’ve been through?” The guitars have a faint echoey approach that hints at bands like Burning Airlines at times. But the driving sound of “Bet the Bird” shows a pure rock ‘n roll sound, with vocals trading back and forth and all driving rhythms and guitar. “Jackson” has this kind of catchy hook that makes the song far more memorable. If the quoting of “Can you smell that smell / yeah the smell that’s around you” (from the venerable Lynyrd Skynyrd) in the middle of this track doesn’t tell you that Denunzio cares more about having fun than anything else, nothing will make that point.

The band isn’t all energy and upbeat rhythms. There’s nice backing vocals to add a bit more melodicism to “Highlight Reel,” and “Explain the Name” reminds me of an energetic Samiam song. “Get in Line” is a bit more mid-tempo, putting more emphasis on the poppy hooks, reminding me of mid-90s bands like Fig Dish. And if the poppy approach isn’t your thing, try the punk-rock approach of the following track, “Moth.” Starting with a bunny-hop bassline, “The Getaway” turns into a much more upbeat track of guitar-driven rock, leading nicely into the closing “Red Rose,” which takes a Sugar-like approach to fast-paced power-pop and plenty of riffing.

The musicians in Denunzio are very talented. I certainly don’t mean my indications that they record quickly or go for noise rather than precision as an insult. The punk-rock approach to straight-forward guitar-driven rock makes for fun albums of fast-paced, catchy songs that surely capture the band’s live aesthetic. And that’s all you can ask for from rock ‘n roll!