Well, it was a bumpy start to my first go around with You Asked For It. The transition into my second week was somewhat better, but not by much. Case in point: Scottsdale's No Longer Together, a spunky little three-piece that won Alice Cooper's "Proof is in the Pudding" contest back in December of 2008, thus awarding them the dubious honor of opening for Cooper at his 2008 Christmas Pudding show. Maybe well with that crowd, but probably not with me. While the members of the band are actually quite talented musicians, they play a type of music that would have had a sliver of originality and/or edge in 1993. This simplistic approach to pop/rock music fails completely in 2010, unfortunately.
The EP kicks off with the harmless enough "Far Away," complete with a rousing gong giving way to pop punk guitars, ultimately ceding to emo/screamo guitars and drums. Then come the snarky, emo-y vocals and the band's blueprint is painfully laid out for everyone to hear.
I wonder if the members of No Longer Together are familiar with the 1970's television variety show "The Gong Show." I would wager a bet they aren't, because that particular show saw various people performing their bizarre, sometimes amazing talents in front of a panel of celebrity judges. If the performer was just too God awful to continue on, they were ushered off the stage with a clash of show's cruel barometer: a gong. Thus, a clash of the gong has come to symbolize an end -- a signal to stop because no one can stand your act anymore.
No Longer Together, then, start off their EP with a gong clash and -- after having listened to it -- I find it a bold move, yet one that is ultimately helpful. It's their nice way of letting certain listeners know that you need not proceed any further and you might as well move on to something else. Like I said -- bold, yet helpful.
The third song on the EP, "Wonderful Nightmare," also has a helpful device built in: the song's name. If corny oxymorons for song names are what's all the rage these days, then consider me out of the loop. Obviously, there is more to the song than just its name, and the totality of that includes some of the worst singing I have ever heard. It is just so off-key and so disjointed that I wonder why the song -- which builds an impressive momentum in its early seconds with its pounding drums -- even features vocals at all. Oh, that's right. We all have to "follow" the lead singer to her "wonderful nightmare." It's fitting, though, with those vocals to use the word "nightmare" in the song's title, because thats what it feels like listening to it.
There is just so much about this EP that misses the mark completely. For only three members, No Longer Together create a very loud, encompassing sound. They are all quite talented musicians in their own right. Their lyrics, however, and their choice of genre leave a lot to be desired, not to mention their vocal shortcomings. The tempo and the feel of the album match up quite well, but the varying levels of talent between music and vocals just makes it feel a bit too underwhelming.
If you're a musician from the Phoenix area and would like to submit a CD for review, please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85032