The Frantics -- Downtown Delirium
Mutant Pop, 1997
I don't know what happened to the Frantics between 1996's Playing Dumb and this EP, but whatever it was, wow. Whether another year together helped the band cohere into a tighter unit or if it's simply a matter of a finding a label stable enough to finance a higher-quality recording, Downtown Delirium marks a significant refinement in the band's sound. Speeding up the tempo, tightening the rhythm section, and adding a modicum of grit to the snot-drenched vocals would have made the decent songs on Playing Dumb sound better, but when these qualities are combined with the vastly improved songwriting on Downtown Delirium, you end up with one hell of a pop-punk disk.
Track 1. "Stuck With Being the One to Hate." Although the twenty-plus seconds of audio clips with which the band introduces the song are on the gratuitous side, "Stuck With Being the One to Hate" is a solid, if unexceptional, opener.
Track 2. "Downtown Delirium." The title track is great. Fast, loud, and snotty enough to make you want to grab a few extra handkerchiefs before heading out the door.
Track 3. "Trina's on a Postcard." Backed by a hard staccato beat and punctuated by precisely-timed eh, eh ehs, Kevin Mac delivers one of the best vocal performances of his career: both gritty and adenoidal, his singing will make you want to belt out the words along with him - and take him to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Track 4. "Slightly Modified Stick People." A bit on the heavier side, the disk's closing track is also its punkest. Play this loud.
Sobriquet Grade: 84 (B)