Fanmail: 2000

Chuck Hicks



Label: Tooth & Nail
US Release Date: 2000-08-15
UK Release Date: Available as import

Real estate agents will acknowledge that the division of a single piece of property often results in two parcels whose value, when added together, is greater than that of the original. When Scott Silletta left Plankeye a couple of years ago, the result was positive for all parties involved. Plankeye released Relocation, its best offering to date, and Silletta -- determined to get back to basics -- formed his new gig Fanmail.

Last year Fanmail enjoyed notoriety for its cover of "Every Breath You Take," which ESPN wore out during coverage of the Women's World Cup Soccer Tournament. After their debut record The Latest Craze was released the band started receiving plenty of its namesake, garnering 56,000 hits on its web site in a mere two months.

With 2000, Fanmail isn't breaking new ground in the punk realm. In fact, on this album the group plays it relatively safe. While other bands contemplate the newest (and silliest) craze -- "glam-punk" -- Fanmail resorts to a proven method, delivering an economical 35 minute batch of bone-jarring rock. This is commendable because it shows that Fanmail doesn't take itself too seriously and acknowledges that life consists of more than head-banging. The band rocks, then politely gets out of the way.

The Japanese anime-style album art lets the listener know up front that this is a fun album. The jack-hammer riffs of "Breakdown" put one in the mood to practice tae kwan do in front of giant screen projections of old NASA footage. Or maybe one could visualize Speed Racer battling it out with the Mammoth Car. Yet the lyrics manage to sneak some depth into the midst of super-hero gyrations:

"On bent knees, so it seems
don't always get what you ask for
Broken heart, seems to start
it's the consequence that's saving you..."

On "Competition" Silletta laments, "competition worries me/it brings out the best in you and the worst in me." In short, 2000 leaves the listener with issues to ponder while toweling off and guzzling down a sports drink.

One of the finest moments on the record comes with "The Other Side," Silletta's tribute to engineer Gene Eugene, who died while 2000 was in production. Eugene had a long and respectable career in the Sothern California Christian rock scene, playing with groups Adam Again and Lost Dogs and producing Fold Zandura (where are they, by the way?). Pulling back the throttle, Silletta plays a stripped-down guitar straight through an amp, accompanied only by a tambourine.

The album's density was enhanced by the engineering work of Andrew Prickett, formerly of The Prayer Chain (another phenomenal band that has left us hanging), who completed the assignment after Eugene's passing.

The back cover art promises "More Action...More Thrills...More Rock Power!!!" At the very least Scott Silletta has re-invested the equity he accumulated with Plankeye well. For the listener needing a quick adrenaline rush, 2000 means more bang for the buck.





The Texas Gentlemen Share the Powerful and Soulful "Last Call" (premiere)

Eclectic Texas band, the Texas Gentlemen return with a vibrant, imaginative LP that resists musical boundaries. Hear their latest epic single, "Last Call".


Vincent Cross Pays Tribute to Folk Hero via "King Corcoran" (premiere)

Gangs of New York-era James "The Rooster" Corcoran was described as the terror of New York's east side. His descendent, Vincent Cross, retells his story with a "modern dark fairy tale".


Eddy Lee Ryder Gets Lonely and Defiant with "Expected to Fly" (premiere)

Eddy Lee Ryder explores the loss of friendship and refusal to come of age, cloaked in the deeply dramatic and powerful song, "Expected to Fly".


Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.


Creative Disruption in 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

Portrait of a Lady on Fire yearns to burn tyrannical gendered tradition to ash and remake it into something collaborative and egalitarian.


Fave Five: The Naked and Famous

Following two members leaving the group in 2018, synthpop mavens the Naked and Famous are down to a duo for the first time ever and discuss the records they turned to help make their aptly-named fourth record, Recover.

Evan Sawdey

Fleetwood Dissects the European Mindset in His Moody, Disturbing Thriller, 'A Young Fair God'

Hugh Fleetwood's difficult though absorbing A Young Fair God offers readers a look into the age-old world views that have established and perpetuated cultural rank and the social attitudes that continue to divide us wherever we may reside in the world.


Art Feynman Creates Refreshing Worldbeat Pop on 'Half Price at 3:30'

On Half Price at 3:30, Art Feynman again proves himself adept at building colorful worlds from unexpected and well-placed aural flourishes.


The Beths Are Sharp As Ever on 'Jump Rope Gazers'

New Zealand power-poppers the Beths return with a sophomore album that makes even the most senior indie-rock acts feel rudimentary by comparison.


Jessie Ware Returns to Form on 'What's Your Pleasure'

On What's Your Pleasure, Jessie Ware returns to where it all began, the dance floor.


The Jayhawks Offer Us Some 'XOXO'

The Jayhawks offer 12-plus songs on XOXO to help listeners who may be alone and scared by reminding us that we are all alone together.


Steve McDonald Remembers the Earliest Days of Redd Kross

Steve McDonald talks about the year that produced the first Redd Kross EP, an early eighth-grade graduation show with a then-unknown Black Flag, and a punk scene that welcomed and defined him.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.