My Pain and Sadness Is More Sad and Painful Than Yours

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McLusky makes screaming, passionate pop-punk, sometimes becoming bitterly angry, other times detailing bittersweet relationships. Comparisons to the Pixies are inevitable, but the Pixies came out of the gate with a seeming mastery of their instruments, whereas the members of McLusky don't necessarily convey much knowledge of how to play their instruments; they get by on dynamics and attitude. "Joy" mixes all-out instrument bashing with screaming male vocals and a pretty female voice providing backup. "Friends Stoning Friends" continues the same interplay; the female voice reminds one of Velocity Girl until Andrew Falkous sneers compellingly, "It's just a rattlesnake that looks like you." Pixies fans might see the song as the first sign of the second coming. "whiteliberalonwhiteliberalaction" is a funny sarcastic romp, full of powerful fuzzy atmospherics and an offensive, amazing finale. It's the finest form of punk music: political, rude, catchy, and downright superb. "Flysmoke" presents another angle of the band; a nice change of pace, it's a ballad to sadness punctuated by an undeniable Pixies guitar riff. Somehow, "Flysmoke" comes across like Black Francis singing "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. "Rock Vs. Single Parents" gets right back into the dynamics of shouting and percussive attack. Here and throughout the album, Falkous knows just when to pierce the air with staccato screams. "She Come in Pieces," "When They Come Tell Them No," and "You Are My Sun" might as well be performed by the Pixies; the hint of an accent in Falkous' voice is the giveaway that Frank Black himself is not singing. "(Sometimes) I Have to Concentrate" and "Rods on Crutches" sound like Pavement circa Wowee Zowee. "Problems Posing as Solutions" sees McLusky biting off a bit more than the band can chew, attempting something more akin to the Fall or Public Image Ltd.; there's a bit too much going on in the song. "Mi-O-Maui" is first-rate punk-pop, providing nothing new but sounding like a lost classic. While My Pain and Sadness Is More Sad and Painful Than Yours shows a band not yet mastering its instruments, McLusky presents an ethic and an attitude quite rare in music. The band's bitterness is catchy, endearing, and cathartic, making McLusky more than the sum of its influences. The album is a sour, soaring treat of fierce dynamics with a knowing sneer.

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