Say It Out Loud

The Interrupters

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Say It Out Loud Review

by Mark Deming

Some bands just shouldn't write their own material. Case in point: the Interrupters are a ska-punk band from Los Angeles who sound tight and energetic, generating endless skanking with good spirits and boundless enthusiasm. On their second album, 2016's Say It Out Loud, the three Bivona brothers -- Kevin on guitar, Justin on bass, and Jesse on drums -- are in especially taut and effective form, and vocalist Aimee Interrupter growls with a suitable degree of attitude. All well and good, and the production by Tim Armstrong of Rancid is clean and tough, and it suits the music well. (He and his bandmates also contribute backing vocals on "Loyal.") But the band's tunes practically sink this album. The melodies have a cookie-cutter similarity that becomes irritating by the midway point (it's significant that Armstrong and the band use different combinations of horns and keyboards to give the tracks distinct sounds when the tunes themselves don't do the job). And some of the lyrics here are all but laughable -- their determination to sound like outlaws is never especially convincing, and when Aimee sings about bringing down Babylon or living behind bars, sometimes the only answer is to roll your eyes. It's significant that before forming the Interrupters, these folks all did well backing up other people, and maybe that's at the root of their problem -- they clearly know how to play and sing, but writing their own songs and making them stick is another skill set altogether. Ultimately, Say It Out Loud works best the less closely you listen to it, and if the Interrupters really want a future, they need to find a cooperative songwriter before they start work on their third long-player.

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