I intended to tell you all about The Pattern's excellent debut album
through some personal experience. You know, let you in on how Real
Feelness made me really feel. Yet here I am, listening to
the Oakland quintet's first longplayer for the gazillionth time and,
though I thoroughly enjoy it, I can't think of one damn
interesting/entertaining story that has come from spinning this
record tirelessly over the last couple a months.
But don't blame the album; blame my uninspired life. Let Real
Feelness stand as plain evidence that I am plain tired of
reviewing music the band names change, but the adjectives
remain the same. Do they swagger, strut, sneer and grind? Do they
have loads of energy? Mean riffs, trashy drums and snotty vocals?
Well, I never! Wait, wait, wait who are we talking about
again? Every band I've ever written about? It's quite possible.
It's both bewildering and frightening how much I don't care about
music lately. Silent car rides, Walkman-less walks and Hank-free
Sundays what has my life come to?
I'm sorry, members of The Pattern, for your wonderful album stands at
the helm of my disillusionment. But the good news is I have no better
album to exemplify my current dissatisfaction with music. While any
other album might do so by simply consisting of boring music, the
striking thing about yours is the pure shock that such exciting tunes
will not excite me.
Honestly, it's not the fault of any of the record's 12 exhilarating
tracks. It's all timed right, crisp and clean. It's loud and
slamming. And, most importantly, it's got these great
whiny-but-powerful lead vocals that you can't help being affected by
in one way or another.
That is, unless you are, like me, somewhere else.
I guess when you're lost, the music has a hard time finding/hitting
you. I miss being hit by music. I miss crying myself to sleep or
dancing in the living room listening to the best album ever made (or
that other best album ever made). Or finding a jolt of
motivation, revelation or general tidal-wave-like surge of emotion
from ingesting music alone. If the music that touches you says
something about who you are, it must also change as you do and get
lost as you do. When you're not sure who you are, finding music you
can connect to is like feeling around for a tack in the shag carpet
it's disgustingly difficult to find, but you'll definitely
know it when you do.
Back to The Pattern. Real Feelness got me thinking about these
sorts of things because it's such a great album the sort of
sloppy punk rock that makes you think of getting crazy and acting
stupid, the sort of snotty-ass attitude-drenched punk I've had fun
with for years. And beyond that, sincerity, thought and emotion hold
strong ground beneath the racy, rumbling rhythms and dangerously
infectious melodies. Many (maybe too many) times you'll find this
garage-tinged punk-rock recipe, roll your eyes, scoff and remark
sarcastically, "Wow, the originality is killing me!" Other
(perhaps fewer) times, you'll really dig it, and find your eyes
maintaining a straight-ahead stare and your normally quick-witted
self at a loss for the usual sarcasm with which to giggle to
yourself. Real Feelness, of course, evokes the latter reaction
which is why I often stuck swabs in my ears to check for any
blockages during my countless Real Feelness listening
sessions. If I'd had an MRI, my brain would have had a sign hung
unevenly from it, reading "Not Interested."
Believe me, Real Feelness is an incredible album that
swaggers, struts, sneers, grinds and sweats ... uh-oh! Seriously, it's
fine music that deserves your attention. Me? All I can find is damn
fuzz balls in this shag. Don't worry, a prick is in my future. And,
oh boy, when it comes, it's gonna hurt so good!