Album Review: Rozwell Kid – Precious Art (2017 LP)

On their most recent album, Precious Art, Rozwell Kid commit to this very 90s, Get Up Kids-esque, early Weezer kind of fuzzy pop punk. There’s nothing that would sound out of place in the background of a scene in a Buffy episode from 1998. Here’s the main question you need to answer before heading into this album: do you like Pinkerton? Yes? Cool, you’ll like Precious Art.

Personally, I like the first four tracks a lot, I like the fifth track well enough, and from there the next seven tracks suffer from diminished returns. As Precious Art winds on, each song starts to feel a bit like a slower version of the previous song, without a huge amount of variety. But this isn’t a mark against fuzzy indie pop punk for a lot of people, and the level of competency as far as song construction and musicianship on display is high. Drummer Sean Hallock is the saving grace over the course of the album, and his arresting, driving rhythm saves the songs from falling totally into a melange of distortion and indie kitsch.

There’s a lot of kitsch, by the way, that specific kind of pizza-and-video-games indie hipsterism that’s so common in this genre. The song titles alone are like a Tumblr tag list for a blog about pop punk – “Futon”, “Wendy’s Trash Can”, “South By”. It’s such a well articulated aesthetic though, from the band name to the music to the drawing of a cactus on the album cover, it’s kind of like pop punk as performance art. That might sound disparaging, but it’s not. I can’t fault Rozwell Kid’s dedication to an aesthetic.

Precious Art is an album that finds its sound early and sticks with it, which isn’t exactly a drawback. Nevertheless, the highlight for me is probably “Futon”, the fourth track of twelve, which is a slow-burn, driving song replete with Blue Album melodies and slurred, drawn out vocals that blend apathy and emotion into a kind of catchy ennui. “Wendy’s Trash Can” is also good, faster paced and lighter but catchy as hell and with some extremely fun surf-rock hooks. There are some real gems on Precious Art for sure, it just feels a bit overstuffed at times, but that isn’t a major sin. It’s definitely more enjoyable than not, and I doubt it’ll disappoint fans of Rozwell Kid or heartfelt pop punk in general.

Review Score: 7.4 out of 10.

Precious Art is out June 23rd through SideOneDummy/Cooking Vinyl Australia.