Patrick Lew Band: East Bay Kid Song Review

Patrick Lew Band - We're An East Bay Band
This song evokes a lot of responses from me and so I wanted to take my time talking about them. I am going to start with the negative because Patrick and I have known each other for a long time via this media forum and I have always been a fan of his irreverent loutish punk that seems infused with heart and passion at the same time. One thing I learnt from his Facebook is just how much of a music buff he is, sorting music via style and decade to make sensible observations about the progressions of artists and genres, therefore I suspect he will not be offended when I make some of my own little passing references here. Firstly, I've always had a problem with (I know this is shaky ground) but self referential songs. We write what we know, but I find writing about it too specifically is an issue. Most notable in this trend is the string of California songs about California which elicited The Beatles to write "Back In The USSR" which is one of the greatest parody songs of all time in my own opinion. On a more personal level you have artists like (and I know it's rap which is rather different but) Eminem, who talks about the ins and outs of his life to a frankly boring degree. So when I saw this title, I was worried it would lack the passion that made Patrick's songs so great, Patrick's love for his home town is great and it shows here because, interestingly, it's not about the place, it's more about life as a general. This makes the title seem weirdly out of place for me and, as someone who finds titles important, I would say that it is perhaps the biggest put off. Once it starts I just love the rumbling bass that echoes the tom happy drums and the sense of grungy punk. In both that bass heavy focus, drum style and melody it reminds me of Blink 182 whom I know Patrick is fond of as I am myself. This is definitely a product of Californian punk and grunge and I feel the love, but I think it transcends it in it's ultimate intention which is to draw a personal picture to which many musicians can relate. This is a more universal tale then would otherwise be expected. The images are simple but painted with that punk directness that is easy to get in to if you know what it's about. The song is a musicians friend, sorry to keep on about the title but I almost feel the name should be "We're A Band". From a performance stand point this is a clear example of Patrick's multiple tempos happening at the same time thing although it's nice how they reunite at the end of each bar and this also features ones of Patrick's best, if not his very best, vocal performances. The last 40 seconds however is a real treat as PLB strays away from punk in to something of a more experimental rock sounding section. The bass pumps away as punk but with the rock sense to hold note whilst the guitar loses it's heavy distortion and peddles lightly away. The drums are kinetic and engrossing here as well. It's a brilliant end to a powerful song. It's PLB's usual fair of inaccessible punksentricity but including so many accessible elements. This really is one that warranted the many listens it got. Great work.

Howard Billington
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