[18 May 2005]
Late on a Saturday night, the Coke Dares were nearing the end of their third show of the evening, as well as their 23rd song. But apart from the visible beads of sweat on their brows, they still looked and sounded fresh and excited about the noise they were making. Where mere mortals would collapse or devolve, the Coke Dares appeared to thrive. Part of an explanation might be the collective tenure and road discipline of the trio in bands like the Impossible Shapes, Ativin, John Wilkes Booze, Panoply Academy, and Magnolia Electric Co. (in which they performed two of their four sets that night). Another part might be, to quote one of their song titles, “[They] Like Rocking All the Time”. And still another part might be that their songs average around 40 seconds in length. The endurance on display was like that of pro-football players. Songs ran for the duration of a quick rush or pass play, then a pause, then another kapow! of brutish fun. The band even kind of looked like they could be football players, or at least fans. The crowd stood in relatively quiet awe or bewilderment (no small feat at this venue). “This next song is called ‘Thank You, I’m Sorry, I Love You!’” shouted lead singer/guitarist Jason Groth, as two hundred heads simultaneously turned to their friends and nodded to the groove.
Describing the Coke Dares’ live show is vital to understand Here We Go With . . . the Coke Dares. Many of the album’s 32 tracks were recorded live everywhere from Atlanta, Georgia to Barcelona, Spain. The band’s interaction with the audience works as fuel for the songs, as if the whole point is strictly camaraderie. Here’s the banter from Atlanter:
Groth: You ever been to Tennessee?
Audience member: Hell yeah.
Groth: Hell, yeah. You ever been to Autozone? Have you? Well if you’ve ever been to Autozone, this song’s for you.
The band then launches into, more than appropriately, “The Guys At Autozone Were Assholes”. Even those who’ve never been are now clued in, part of the joke. And finally someone has written a song about chumps that drive through your neighborhood with the skull-rattling sub-woofers on 11: “All I Have Is Your Bass in My Head”. It’s hard to talk about any of these songs in any great detail; they’re over before any heavy-duty soul-searching rock criticism can compose itself. That’s also the point. Straight-ahead, short attention span, high speed rawk doesn’t ask for much, it just gives. What can really be analyzed to the nth degree about “That’s It, I’m Chasing This Rat”? After all, for 26 seconds, the song declares, “I am chasing this rat / And you can’t argue with that”. Too true, fellas, too true. Pencil pushers like me just end up feeling redundant.
Elsewhere, “Disappearing Up the Wizard’s Sleeve” takes on D&D and prog/boogie-rock. “Acid Church Party” begins and ends as singalong thrash punk, but with a slow middle section of scary movie laughter. “I’m Too Busy to Cut My Lines Straight” has a nice squeaky guitar solo. Hmm… what else? “I Had a Dream Last Night That I Broke All the Bones in My Hand,” “You Caught Me Counting on My Fingers”, and “You’re Not Carrying a Big Box” exude wealth of blah blah, oh fuck it. I’ll just quote the Coke Dares again, “It’s Only Rock and Rock (But I Like It)”.
P.S. The disc also includes a video for “I Was a Teenage Shoplifter”, which features a bespectacled hipster gal five-finger-discounting a cat and driving a wood-paneled station wagon.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/cokedares-herewego/