Schramms

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Dynamite

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The second album from the Schramms, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Dynamite, sounds like the sort of record most bands don't come up with until six or seven years into their recording careers, speaking with the clear voices of seasoned veterans in firm command of their powers. Dave Schramm's songwriting had already developed an easygoing maturity that displayed wit without forcing a laugh and conveyed bitterness without spite or overwhelming angst. The second edition of the Schramms plays with authority, grace, and good humor; while Schramm's fleet-fingered guitar leads are the highlight, Terry Karydes' keyboards offer splendid melodic counterpoints, and bassist Al Greller and drummer Ron Metz are a rock-solid, no-nonsense rhythm section. If Rock, Paper, Scissors, Dynamite has a flaw, it's that it goes on a bit too long and doesn't shift gears often enough; while the album starts out well with the brilliant "Welfare of Your Enemy" and rolls on with a string of fine songs, it starts to lose a bit of steam at about the halfway point, and stays in a mid-tempo rut that is just a bit wearying by the time the disc finally comes to a close. In short, this album makes clear that the Schramms already had a lot going for them in the way of chops and studio smarts, but pacing an album was one task they hadn't yet learned to master.

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