The Computers - Want the News? Here's the Blues

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:7 Release Date:2015-11-29

A four-song sampler of The Computers, their latest EP, Want the News? Here’s the Blues, shows how far from their hardcore roots they’ve come. Continuing with their tack towards a more alt-rock or punk-pop sound (and reminding me a bit of The Godfathers in both sound and fashion), this picks up where 2013’s Love Triangles Hate Squares left off.  

The slick title track hints at the punkish funk and soul of the Red Hot Chili Peppers mixed with Top 40 dance-pop. Showing flashes of their snarky, clever writing (“My love she said to me, ‘Babe, I have some news/ I took a test last night and, darling, it turned blue’”) and a brain-worm chorus you’ll be singing unconsciously throughout your day, it’s a great song. 'Crucifixed on You' is a riff-centric number that reminded me, oddly enough, of the late career, pop version of the J. Geils Band ca. “Love Stinks.” The third song, a cover of Devo’s big hit “Whip It,” is as cheeky as it is exuberant, and reminds me of the Supertramp cover from Mindless Self Indulgence. Altogether, it’s a trio of highly listenable songs.

The last song, “It’s Over You,” begins in a stark gray fashion; a simple drum rhythm, some atmospheric whispers, and the pleading, desperate, reflective, broken-hearted lyrics of Alex Kershaw (“When push comes to shove, the heart always wants to love, and there’s no excuse for being cruel”). Soulful and heartfelt, in different artists’ hands, this could be a huge pop ballad. By the same token, it is also a noticeable departure from the other songs. Perhaps if it were the coda to a longer disc, it wouldn’t feel quite so out of place as it does here.

On the whole, I’m intrigued by what I’ve heard and would've enjoyed a full album. The small sample feels like a novel with crucial chapters missing; you like what you’ve read, but can’t quite see how it all fits together. 

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