Courtesy Murder – Population Control

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews

Courtesy Murder

Population Control - Felony Records

When thinking about Courtesy Murder’s debut full length, Population Control, I can safely say that I’ve never felt so positive about an album on which I regularly skip nearly half the tracks.  It’s the same story each and every listen: I fire it up to the title track, find myself singing along to the repetitious but oh so catchy “Population Control,” skip over “Captain America” about half way in, rock out to “Northbound Train,” and then repeat for the next sixteen tracks.  By all logic I should have written Population Control off a few months ago, yet I find myself coming back time and again.

The thing is, when Georgia four-piece nails a melody, they really nail it.  And these aren’t carefully fabricated hooks like you might find on some over produced, carefully marketed album sitting in Best Buy, these tracks are organic and effortless.  The production value here is very DIY, but by and large the best tracks are better for it.  “Population Control” in particular just screams Suffer-era Bad Religion, right from the almost scratchy production value, down to the looping chorus coated in subtle, grainy imperfections.  I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the track without singing along with the chorus.

Other recurrent gems build themselves around a variety of other sounds.  “Mr. Walker” and “Too Many People” introduce a sunny ska upstroke in contrast with pessimistic lines like “there’s to many people living on earth/how can they understand/it’s time to shoot first.”  Other times, like in “Georgia,” they introduce a speed talking near croon that at least for me, just begs comparison with the horror punks inThe Epidemic.

But then there are those “other” tracks – the ones I’ve chosen to ignore and block from memory.  These aren’t bad songs, they’re just out of place and fail to leave their mark.  Most of these moments try existing in a thrashy, 80’s hardcore environment, but just end up jangling around with hooks and phrases that should sound better than they do.  Take the very Black-Flag-esque “Policeman” where guitarists pound on their strings to little avail, or “Great Wall Of Texas” where the band gives a rather obvious spin on southern immigration politics.  All these tracks have potential (well, except for maybe their embarrassing take on Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”), but falter somewhere along the line.

Based on pure mathematics, I should probably give this album a solid point lower, but I just can’t ignore a little thing called review tilt.  After all, I find myself returning to the flawed disc and having a blast without fail.  That has to be worth something, right?