The Groucho Marxists Manifesto!

The Groucho Marxists are, at their most basic, a pop punk band. All the staples of the genre are present: simple song structures, vocal harmonies. Hell, they even take the pop punk mainstay of the unattainable girl to new heights with the song "Hey Janeane," a love song about Janeane Garofalo. But by taking this heartbroken pop punk cliché and dumping a healthy dose of bitterness and lament on top, the songs on Manifesto! end up sounding fresh and weighty. With its angular guitar riffs and distorted vocals, songs like "My Favourite Enemy" bring forth a more visceral reaction than some much heavier bands are capable of, while tracks like "She Don't Go Down" sound like latter day Descendants. Still, the Marxists fall victim to the most predominant trapping of the genre: repetition. Add to that an inconsistency in production and some of the songs end up falling between the cracks. But if you can give this album the attention it deserves, there are some gems to be found on Manifesto! (Don Giovanni)