Read the Book, Seen the Movie is the debut offering from the Minneapolis outfit, Cadillac Blindside. Pulse Magazine defined the band’s sound as “blistering rock that stays marginally on this side of pop with catchy hooks and harmonies rather than that far side of hardcore.” However, that characterization is a bit deceiving, leaving out the fact that this is a punk band. While in agreement that the band isn’t hardcore like the Sex Pistols or G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies, they are neither as polished or accomplished as Blink 182 or Goldfinger.
Read the Book, Seen the Movie is music for the mosh pits, plain and simple. The record is a high-velocity, sonically dissonant exercise in youthful exuberance, with an emphasis more concerned with exceeding the speed of sound than creating a cohesive, coherent album. More than anything, the record lacks any melodic sensibility on a consistent basis. When you do get a hint of melodicism, it’s in the form of an occasional intro which only serves as the calm before the chaos. Songs like “This One’s On Me,” “Just Pull the Trigger” and “The Bottom Line” are great examples of this; marvelously melodic intros that evolve into a noisy, uninteresting musical mess.
Of the albums’ 12 tracks only five are worthy of mention. “Did You Get All That,” “…And Then We Dance,” “Tonight’s Starting Lineup,” “My Heart Pisses Blood For You” and the single, “At Wit’s End” exhibit what this band is capable of; infectious propulsive tunes that make your blood bubble. Too bad these moments are few and far between. The most stunning moments come compliments of drummer Rebecca Hanten. Her powerful, innovative patterns on tracks like “Nothing Like The Real Thing,” “Milemarker 92” and “Fashion Before Function” are agressive, yet tasteful.
All in all, Read the Book, Seen the Movie doesn’t set itself apart from any other punk band that you’ll hear. The hooks are in short supply but the forgettable moments are not. But at least for half of the record, you get a great feel for what Cadillac Blindside is capable of.
For a band that exhibits such melodic potential, it’s a low-down dirty shame that they never seem to interested in exploiting it. It is possible to be melodious even in the realm of punk rock without abandoning the edginess, angst or attitude. If you don’t believe it, pick up a copy Goldfinger’s Stomping Ground.