The Berlin Project

The Transition Radio EP

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The Berlin Project sounds like the name of a European techno or synth pop outfit, but in fact, the Pittsburgh band is best known for bratty ska-punk along the lines of Reel Big Fish and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. So you could say that by calling themselves the Berlin Project, the band is being ironic (intentionally or unintentionally). Unlike the Berlin Project's late-'90s releases, 2000's The Transition Radio EP doesn't contain any ska-punk. Nothing on this five-song EP has a real ska beat, although the punk element is still strong. Steve Sobloslai's lead vocals sometimes hint at former Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra, but unlike the Kennedys' albums, The Transition Radio EP doesn't have a militant sociopolitical agenda -- the Berlin Project's punk is very pop. In fact, "Crashing Down," "Runaway," and the other songs on the CD are the sort of by-the-book punk-pop numbers that seemed inescapable if you listened to alternative rock stations in the late '90s and the early 2000s. Although not mind-blowing, the material is decent and likable, if derivative and not terribly distinctive. An enhanced CD, The Transition Radio EP contains a video for "Crashing Down."

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