It has often been observed that great tragedies have often been the spur for great art. What has less often been commented upon is how minor tragedies have sometimes begotten very minor art. The late-'90s phenomenon of nerd rock is a fine example, as bands churned out songs about catastrophes such as being turned down for a date. 9-Iron unfortunately falls victim to this tendency on most of this album. Lead vocalist Will Baum sings in a nasal, high-pitched whine that is distinctly unappealing but fits the material well -- and that isn't to say that the songs are bad, because they're often clever, but they are songs in which unlikable people complain a lot. Baum was obviously trying to write a novelty hit, and he's not a bad lyricist -- "Is There Fuchsia in Your Future, Felicia?" is a fun little piece, showing that when he drops the arch attitude and screeched vocals, Baum can deliver a good song. Unfortunately, it is followed by "Trophy Girl," in which the singer mopes endlessly about how stupid he was to marry someone just because she was cute. It's an annoying song about a shallow idiot, delivered in a grating whine. Surprisingly, Baum sings most leads even though the band did have a good vocalist available. Drummer Tony Maxwell sings lead on three songs and his more expressive voice makes the group sound like a credible punk-pop force. 9-Iron had some pretty impressive instrumental chops, but the band's choice of topics and vocalists limited its appeal.
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AllMusic Review by Richard Foss