Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend

Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend

by The ErgsThe Ergs


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Pop-punk bands who offer up bits of snarky post-teenage wit in short bursts are generally best advised not to collect them into a package that runs more than an hour; such stuff is often the musical equivalent of a comic doing one-liners, and they can easily wear out their welcome after a while. However, the Ergs have created a viable exception to this rule with Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend, a 33-song collection of singles, compilation tracks, and similar odds and sods recorded between 2000 and 2007. Most of the time, the Ergs are playing for laughs, but their stories of love, angst, and various grievances with contemporary culture also happen to ring true, and there's a surprising amount of heart and heartache lurking behind song titles like "Books About Miles Davis," "Jazz Is Like the New Coke," and "More Vocal in the Monitor." And while it would be easier to toss off a Gin Blossoms cover as a joke, the Ergs instead deliver an unexpected reminder that "Hey Jealousy" is actually a pretty good tune (they also do right by the Replacements, Nirvana, Solomon Grundy, and the Beatles). The Ergs may not be the most original or challenging band you'll ever hear, but Jeffrey, Joey, and Mikey play with admirable efficiency and drive and they can embrace a melody without beating it into the ground, making their hooks register amidst the unending barrage of power chords. And it's a welcome sign that this compilation's most obvious joke, "Sneak Attack," is over in less than ten seconds. The Ergs are advised not to push their luck with another 72-minute career-spanning retrospective, but Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend is an entertaining summary of their virtues that works the long form better than most of their peers could ever hope.

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