Gangbox

The Ballad of Me

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

Not all home recordings are half-assed demos that should have stayed in the home, like home movies. Recording by himself in his Brooklyn apartment with just local drummer Nancy Polstein (Symons resisted the urge to man this position, too, though we've seen him drum live for other groups), the production is nevertheless accomplished, sounding like a rather spacious, lively studio instead. Moreover, on this four-songer, he shows a crispness to his cranking guitar pop on songs such as "I Didn't Know Where" which makes great use of a clipped, rack-tom-driven jagged verse, a melody and some vintage power pop "na na na na na na, na na na" backing vocals. Instead of yet another tin pot Beatles or Brian Wilson trying to replicate the most complex moments of decades gone by, Symons shoots instead for the greatness of a nifty tune hitting the pure electrification of a Telecaster or a Les Paul special. To this he adds an insistent, harsh bass, and a double-pounding quarter-note snare beat -- as on "Social Plate Tectonics." In the end, the only flaw in The Ballad of Me is that it lasts only 13 minutes, but then again, you are supposed to leave 'em wanting more; mission successful.