Having suffered the tragic loss of drummer Dave Karcich to a brain aneurysm out of the blue, this former side project for Mighty Mighty Bosstones founding member Joe Gittleman (also a former member of mid-period Gang Green) has not only admirably decided to press on, but has made this his full-time trio. And compared to their promising 2002 self-titled debut, Chopstick Bridge benefits from both his greater attention and a more group-like collaboration. Maybe new bassist Amy Griffin's voice isn't as resolute as Gittleman's on her occasional lead turns, but her singing combines more effectively with Gittleman's on his. And with heavier new drummer John Lynch taking Karcich's spot, and roaring production from Paul Q. Kolderie (Pixies, Hole, Radiohead), the band more than fulfills the Hüsker Dü and Replacements comparisons of its bio. Though personally, it's older Boston outfits that come to mind, such as Moving Targets (especially), mixed with a little of the Dogmatics, the Outlets, and even the very early Neighborhoods, as well as a little of later Gang -- including some Gittleman leads that betray one of the prime influences on the above Beantowners (and the Bosstones), the first two LPs of Stiff Little Fingers. Meanwhile, Gittleman's voice is like a thicker Evan Dando, another Mass oldie. Too punk for emos, too rock & roll for punks, too big-chops for indie rockers, Chopstick is nevertheless a strong, loud-guitar-crunch bomb of a record that has a lot going for it, even if it could have been edited down a bit from 14 songs into more full-fitting shape. See the truly hot songs like "Gone and Forgotten" and "Fillmore East" if you need a taste.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid