The Baltimore Maryland indie-pop band Too Soon Jokes actually began several years ago in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Back then guitarist Dingo, bassist Zane, and guitarist and vocalist Justin, had all grew up around one another and played in various punk and rock bands in that towns scene. Justin began Too Soon Jokes as a solo project and then moved to Baltimore and eventually convinced the other guys to move down there and to join the band. They picked up a drummer, David, and have been writing tunes and gigging ever since. Their first proper album, Too Soon Jokes is an amalgamation of their years together writing songs and sounds like the mid-aught rock revival that was just sixties pop and rock with a newer packaging and a newer and wider audience.
Needless to say there is an ever burgeoning audience for this style of music that is always looking to be satiated by new tunes. Fans who cut their teeth on bands like The Strokes et al, will love Too Soon Jokes for its catchy riffs and dancey guitar pop stylings.
There is also enough for pop punk and post punk enthusiasts to sink their teeth into also. In this way the record is a mixed tape of music that is loosely connected by spastic riffs and up and down tempos with some catchy nuances thrown in for good measure.
The opening track, “No, This is My Territory” begins with a bit of a psychy-guitar interlude before stomping into a fast and furious radio-friendly rocker built around a steely electric guitar riff and fast beats. This leads into a bit more of the same on the dystopian garage rock love song “Brain Sweat,” which gets a Strokes riff added in the second half to keep it from being too different from the previous track or perhaps to keep it from coming off as a bit too punk. Then comes “Mental Math,” which opens with some slow choogs and a darkness pervading it, but after an oddly placed stop and start gimmick, it returns to mid-aughts rock country.
Sometime the gig works like it does on the fast paced and pop punk rocker “What’s Wrong With You” and “07.23.2016” my favorite track and I feel where the band sound the most original and the most like they’ve found a sound that works for them completely. Too Soon Jokes have a lot going for them despite their lack of diversity on this record. The songs, all of them, are taught as a tightrope they have an energy which it takes years for bands to form. I think if they can work the kinks out of their 60s rock style and focus more on writing songs that don’t sound like Strokes one-offs then they’re on their way to forging a promising career as a solid pop-rock band.
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