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Russian Arms and Optics: So Close Yet So Foreign EP

Title: So Close Yet So Foreign EP

Basics: It's back to the pop punk grind here at YAFI, thanks to No Gimmick last week and now Russian Arms and Optics this week. Thankfully, RAO's brand of pop punk isn't that terrible -- there's is a pop punk with plenty of synths and even a fancy dancy organ. As well, RAO is fronted by a female lead singer, an absolute rarity amongst AZ pop punk bands.

Best Song: Second track "Ok Ok" sounds a whole hell of a lot like The Fever's "Gray Ghost," and I very much like that. The song does the best job of employing RAO's synths and organ while adding a nice post punk, rapid-fire drumbeat. It's one hell of an amalgamation of a song -- a veritable sundae of sorts with lead singer Liz's vocals acting as the cherry on top. "Ok Ok" best describes what RAO strives to accomplish in one neat, three and a half minute long song.

Other Noteworthy Songs: "The Situation" tries to be a interesting, unique song, but it tends to fall flat due to it's rather plain, been-there-before chorus. It also pales in comparison to "Bury Me," another song that shows how RAO can honor those bands before them that made their sound marketable. Much like "Ok Ok" sounds like The Fever, the organs and synths in "Bury Me" give it a hint of Reggie and the Full Effect -- I don't know what it is about that band that makes me enjoy them so goddamned much, but I sure as shit do. Playing homage to bands like that is something that goes a long way as far as reeling in new fans.

Suggestions: Keep evolving that organ sound. That is something I just plain haven't heard from a YAFI band and I absolutely love it. It adds an indelibly unique sound to the band and it is definitely something that will get people talking about the band long after they listen to their records or see them live.

Grade: B

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85034

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Michael Lopez