Tony Sly & Joey Cape – Acoustic Volume Two – Review

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It’s been almost eight years since Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) and Joey Cape (Lagwagon) set aside extra time from touring and recording with their respective bands, to come together  and release an fully acoustic split of sorts. “Acoustic” shared twelves songs total of both NUFAN and Lagwagon stripped-down acoustic covers of such hits like “Violins,” “Not Your Savior” and “Move The Car.” With this new split, aptly titled “Acoustic Volume Two”  Tony and Joey are at it once again, leaving behind their electric six-strings for a more raw and stripped-down agenda.

These old heads of underground punk may have built their respective careers with the help of a band, but both have always had their eyes on solo acoustic ventures. Whether it was the 7” between the two in 2010 or Tony’s two solo records, this punk bromance has done nothing but mature and you’ll notice it by the song choices for “Acoustic Volume Two.” The pacified and brilliant acoustic cover of Lagwagon‘s track “I Must Be Hateful” sets a perfect bar for the record, as it shoots our memory back to high school when “Blaze” and “Trashed” would occupy our CD players, as it uses gentle guitar plucks and resonating piano to replace its ordinary speedy, melodic guitars. Joey spreads the cover love around, adding songs from almost every album, such as “Trashed,” “Resolve,” and the (in my opinion) boring “Let’s Talk About Feelings.” This leads to unequivocally amazing renditions of songs like “Know It All” and “Confession,” both of which are touching pieces of acoustic ballads — but also makes room for throw away tracks like “Alison’s Disease” and “Resolve,” which feel like phantom limbs on the record, victims of being featured from full-lengths that didn’t measure up to past and future efforts.

It must be said that Joey Cape and his signature croon are more up my alley than Tony Sly (with his NUFAN and exploitative solo history), so while I enjoyed his record “Sad Bear” and the bands latest full-lengths “The Feel Good Record of the Year” and 2005′s “Keep Them Confused,” Tony’s tracks never really hit home with me. Songs like the up-beat “Soulmate” and “Chasing Rainbows” with its humble accordion and banjos, do have an unmistakable charm, and I’m sure No Use For A Name fans will certainly turn to goo once they hear the anthem chants and strumming melody of “Liver Let Die.”

Fat Wreck Chords really knows how to grow and nuture it’s family of artists and this is a perfect example of how two of their prominent lead singers came together to make a sincere effort motivated by past material. Is it worth your money? Yes. Fans will flock immediately while others should take heed that these are some of punk’s most notable leads making what are essentially acoustic ballads and you will devour almost everyone of them. Although we can’t have each cover be a memorable one, and some are pulled from downright zombified songs from forgettable albums, we are still privy to wonderful gems that outshine those dark spots. [Staff]

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: June 19th, 2012
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre: Acoustic
RIYL: Tony Sly, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name

Track Listing:
1. I Must Be Hateful
2. Know It All
3. Confession
4. Alison’s Disease
5. Resolve
6. Broken Record
7 Black Box
8. Soulmate
9. Under the Garden
10. Chasing Rainbows
11. Pre-Medicated Murder
12. Liver Let Die

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