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July 22, 2024

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The Varicoasters
She Loves Me Not... (No More Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Hailing from Eugene, Oregon, The Varicoasters play a mixture of ska and punk. Automatically your brain clicks and you center on the words ska and punk and assume they're a 'ska-punk' band, right? Well not this time. The Varicoasters are more of a ska band than a punk band, but have a lot of 'punk' tendencies. Think of them as twenty-five percent punk and seventy-five percent third wave ska. Self releasing their debut CD, it contains thirteen tracks.

An instrumental number by the name "Sked St." kicks off the CD. Right from the beginning they demonstrate that even though they have punk in them, that doesn't mean their horn section spits out weak notes. Full sounding, they utilize the horns to the best of their potential. Soon the guitar comes in and speeds up the pace with its fiery upbeat, while the rest of the band plays along. But not being the biggest fan of third wave instrumentals, I started to get bored with the number after a minute. Driving into a repetitive path is too easy, and I wrote the song off as a little repetitive ditty. But soon they change the horn lines, while keeping the rest of the music the same, and give the song a face lift. Soon thereafter they jump back into the standard melody they had created at the beginning, but this time around throw in little maneuvers here and there, with the outcome being an instrumental track that doesn't put the listener to sleep. "All Alone" gives the listener the same fast paced upbeat and dancing melodies that came with the instrumental, but this time adds vocals. Strong horn lines help back up the vocals, which even when they try to be soft still have a very rough texture to them. Very unique, scratchy feeling and all, they give a predominately ska tune a little punk feeling. The rhythm section is tight and doesn't miss a beat. With a few hooks thrown in here and there, you can't help but sing along. The words, even though the voice singing them is pretty scratchy, can still be easily understood. So singing along isn't a problem, and after a few listens it will come natural to you. "It's Allright" brings another very up tempo, upbeat number that will get you dancing. The guitar is like fire shooting through your body, and if you resist you'll only get hurt. The rough vocals compliment the low horn nicely. Together they help to add a bit of a punk feeling to the music, which contrasts the upbeat (even though it's distorted a bit) enough to keep the music lively and interesting. "Wicked Touch" starts out with a bit of the "Pink Panther" theme before going silent for a second. With silence as a weapon, they suddenly hit you with a very fast upbeat that will knock you on your back. At hyper speed they send you into a frenzy of dance moves, as you get too attached to the music to ignore its calling. They do, however, destroy the song a bit with the distorted vocals. By this point you're used to the regular vocals, and playing with them and changing them ruins the song. Maybe this one would have been better suited as an instrumental? "Sundays" throws a bit of humor your way. A song about wanting to "be a little girl and twirl and twirl," you'll crack a big smile as multiple vocals handle the chorus. It sounds like a party, as if they just took the mic and started to have fun. It does, however, sound like it was thrown together and is a bit rough. But that's excusable with it's bouncy music and humorous lyrics. "Tornado" ends the CD with another fast paced, very energetic number. Once again you'll be moving when this number is blasting, its power too enchanting to pass up on.

The Varicoasters are a fun band. Their music is highly danceable, and very infectious. These guys have already made a name for themselves locally, but soon you'll be hearing more about them with this release. Thirteen tracks that'll make you laugh, dance, and have a good time. What more could you ask for? I'll give this CD an A-.

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