CD Review – The Washdown “Yes to Everything”

The Washdown
Yes to Everything
Lookout Records

The Washdown’s Yes to Everything is an example of what a band can accomplish by keeping it simple: you guessed it, mediocrity.

The Tampa natives are preparing for the release of their first full-length album since signing with punk label Lookout Records in 2002.

While mediocrity may be just fine for a band formed by musicians who ditched more serious projects in order to make music that would be fun to dance to. It is inaccurate to label this group as punk.

Punk is not a style of music, or a style of dress for that matter; punk is an idea. Mohawks and poor singing are byproducts of a punk state of mind, not the other way around.

Most contemporary punks have the wrong idea when they think that wearing an Operation Ivy t-shirt makes one a punk rocker.

The Washdown is just a band that lacks the talent and creativity to make a better kind of complicated music.

As soon as Yes to Everything’s opening guitar riff kicks off, lead singer Gene Hess ruins the whole thing by showing off his best Iggy Pop impersonation.

Iggy Pop was not cool because he sang like he did, he sang like he did because he was cool. However, singing like him will not make someone else cool, just a fraud.

Though, in Hess’ defense, he does reveal his true voice during “Say When” bridge and makes it abundantly clear why he doesn’t make a habit of it.

Aside from the abysmal vocals, The Washdown accomplishes its mediocre musical aspirations pretty well.

Bright spots appear in Yes to Everything when the music is simply energetic and catchy, but they’re not long-lasting.

Producer Alex Newport, whose most notable work has been with At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, provides a nice blend of distortion that gives the album a little edge.

The song organization varies enough to tell the songs apart, and is somewhat progressive, though sloppy at times.

The guitar riffs are loud and harsh, with a pop quality the group probably wanted so its fans could dance along. They also utilize a funky twang remnant of The Clash or The Police.

Heath Dupra provides the backbone of the songs, which is the most talented aspect of the band’s sound.

Though the beats are all in basic time, a well-timed trill here and there makes the songs worth listening to and the change of pace allows the listener to bust some moves.

While the Washdown isn’t a punk band — and not a very special band for that matter — the group serves its place well as a pop/rock dance group. Whether such a position in the music scene is of any good to anyone is debatable.

The Washdown is well-suited for those who do not demand much out of music.