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Tony Sly

12 Song Program

(Fat Wreck; US: 16 Feb 2010; UK: import)

12 Song Program is the first solo full length from No Use for a Name’s Tony Sly, and, as the title suggests, it’s a stripped-down, straightforward affair. Sly sets aside his band’s driving pop-punk in favor of lovelorn, isolated acoustic numbers. Oddly enough, though it’s a spare set, it’s actually got much more focus and energy than the last couple No Use records. The best stuff here—like “Via Munich” and “Keira”—Sly’s weathered voice fills up these songs of lonely drinking and longing. The best track here, “Amends”, pairs him up with the other resident singer-songwriter over at Fat Wreck, Lagwagon’s Joey Cape, and together they offer the most melodically tight song on the album, with just a hint of country sway that distinguishes it from the pack. The album can be too spare in spots, sounding at times like demos than fully realized songs, and sometimes Sly gets bogged down in hyperbolic simile—see “Toaster in the Bathtub”. But overall, this is an understated but solid disc from a guy who is used to making a whole lot more news.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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