On their full-length debut, Pittsburgh rockers Black Tie Revue breeze their way through ten high-spirited tracks in a matter of just over twenty-eight minutes. Yet, the band packs a wealth of sound into that timeframe, drawing on a confluence of catalyzing musical forces to guide and shape their work. Mixing the unrelenting energy and ragged riffs of ‘70s punk with carefree melodies and just enough solo keyboard passages to recall the sounds of new wave, the band’s infectious attitude weaves its way throughout the project. Bottom line: think Weezer with less cerebral self-loathing (and therefore packing a lighter punch) or American Hi-Fi without the pandering to radio programmers. The album’s best tracks come early: opening tracks “Red Everywhere” and “I’m So Sure” are a quality one-two combination while “Call Waiting” is a delightfully buoyant pop/rock tune. Cuts like “Too Much Thinking” and “Absent Radio” come across as busier and less inspired; additionally, when the band stops to catch their breath even if just for a moment, as on the open to “Vegas Sticks”, the results are less engaging. While the album offers little in the way of substance for listeners to grasp onto, Code Fun lives up to its name and is an enjoyable ride through the world of Black Tie Revue.
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// Notes from the Road
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