By No Hope In New Jersey
I first heard No Hope In New Jersey's debut single release 'Narcolepsy' about two years ago. Much anticipation was thus created. This lasted about a month or so as a copy of the limited edition vinyl or MP3 could not be traced. Still it lingered in the doldrums of my mind however - the driving car crash guitars, the vengeful vocals of "It's war. I tell ya", locked away forever in that two minute video segment on MTV2. Understandably I was looking forward to hearing what the spoils of two years in the musical wilderness had had on 'Narcolepsy', so far away from the vicinity of my ear lobes. I may even be treated to 10 more hardcore punk rock Fugazi-lite audible treats if I'm lucky.
Imagine my dismay when upon completion of 'Steady Diet Of Decline', I'd more or less forgotten it was even on. Those two years of enforced starvation from 'Narcolepsy' compounded down into 40 minutes of un-enforced but nonetheless ignorance of No Hope In New Jersey's music. Oh well, worse things have happened. It's not all bad. In fact most of it passes for not half bad, but still a million miles away from the bands majestic claims and comparisons made to proven rock supremos of the Black Flag & before mentioned Fugazi variety.
'Steady Diet Of Decline' is far too smog filled and dreary to be anthemic. A cutting edge is missing on the hooks. Vocalist Andy Garratt's voice not being strong enough to uphold his aspirations to sing like the Rollins or Weilands of this world, Kelly Jones is more to the point. It's horrible to see a band attempting to live up to expectations yet falling short but No Hope In New Jersey are prime candidates for this regrettable award. The difference between highlight & lowlight is difficult to decipher in amongst the dregs of post hardcore on display. 'Narcolepsy' is the pick of the bunch if still not a patch on other similar music around at the moment. (the chorus of "I feel so lame, I blame David Blaine" is frankly ridiculous). Along with tracks like 'Invaders', 'Decline' & 'Gut Junk' the No Hopers prove they can on occasion do the business in the rock arena but in the end, these can only be considered anomalies in an all round average effort. Every track is similar if not identical. A token ballad or full on riff fest may have been applied to mix it up a bit but I guess it just wasn't to be. My love affair with No Hope In New Jersey isn't meant to be. I guess my two minute fling with 'Narcolepsy' was just a one night stand. For a long term relationship all this record provides is a 'Steady Diet Of Decline'.