Reggie and the Full Effect

Last Stop: Crappy Town

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Prior to the release of Last Stop: Crappy Town, the albums for James Dewees' side project Reggie and the Full Effect tended toward a blend of emo and punk-pop, but it would be misleading to brand them exclusively as such. Instead, each effort was generally marked by its free-spirited approach to playing with a number of styles, as evidenced by the 2005 release Songs Not to Get Married To, which dabbled in everything from screamo to indie electronica. Last Stop: Crappy Town is another eclectic offering, though a darker tone and reliance on screamo form the core of the album and make it a far different listen than his previous works. The music is harder and more aggressive, but Dewees shifts his quirkiness from music to lyrics, as evidenced on "J" where he sings, "Heard what you said when you said you'd never say it in a letter/You're more informed than me about what happens on tour." It's a small example of what can be expected lyrically throughout the album, or at least those lyrics that can be understood on the more melodic tracks. At least in this respect, Dewees remains consistent; musically, he continues his carefree approach, dabbling with hard rock as well as touches of electronica on interlude tracks "Smith & 9th" and "3rd Ave." His inventive and ambitious exploration earns him some points, but Last Stop: Crappy Town lacks cohesion, something that could prove infuriating for some but fascinating for others. In addition to this disjointedness, Dewees' focus on heavier material makes the album drag as it goes on, with the sound growing particularly stale around halfway through with "V." The softer and more emotionally resonant interludes scattered throughout Last Stop: Crappy Town provide a brief respite, but not enough to keep the album from getting bogged down.

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