It’s hard to say what the most surprising thing is about this odds ‘n’ sods collection from the just-called-it-a-day Jerseyites: that the 33 tracks culled here from various label comps and 7”-only releases constitute “Volume 1” of a series, or that their friendly, palatable brand of pop-punk never found a wider audience. All the elements are in place on Hindsight: a plethora of catchy three-chord burners about girl trouble and suburban ennui (some of which feature song titles that double as Simpsons quotes: “Jazz Is Like the New Coke”, “Saturday Night Crap-o-Rama”) the right influences (Nirvana, Replacements and Beatles covers), a few silly detours (a Gin Blossoms cover, a nicked D12 beat). Hell, there’s even a snippet of the Minutemen’s D. Boon musing “I musta looked like a dork” from “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing” for us old fogies who’re paying attention.
More importantly, there are more than a few genuine attempts to stand out from the crowded mall-punk scene: Three honest stabs at Uncle Tupelo-ism in “Country Skronk”, “Warm and Sharp”, and “Out on the Interstate”, and the best exercise in noisy paranoia the Volcano Suns never cut, “Steering Clear in the New Year”. With a better-than-expected wheat-to-chaff ratio, fans of good-natured pop-punk may have missed the chance to catch the Ergs live, but Hindsight will only help their legacy grow.