Kiser Sozae

...And Then We Read the Directions

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For a short period in the late '90s, pop-punk lingered around the underground just waiting to break into the mainstream. Bands like Lagwagon, Pennywise, and Blink 182 were some of the bigger artists involved in the scene, but hundreds of smaller bands had their place as well. Detroit's own Kiser Sozae was one of those bands, pumping out pop-punk for their two-year existence around the lower Michigan area with the sweaty exuberance of the Replacements. Although the music is nothing terribly original, the energy and melodic feel of the tracks come through very strongly on this, their only album. "As Good as It Gets," "You Can't Reach Me," and "Chainsaw" are catchy, upbeat anthems that have a snotty attitude that suits the music fine. The obscure lyrics by singer Casey Nicholson make songs like "Mike" and "Surprise" stand out from the usual pop-punk. And "Trapperkeeper" and "Hockeytown" have a shimmering, Husker Du feel that mixes things up in the album nicely. But as good as it is, it still really hinges on the listener's tolerance for the genre. Most punk fans will probably enjoy the effort, but those who are not fans of pop-punk will probably not be swayed by this album.

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