Cloud Nothings guitarist Joe Boyer was hoarding his personal recordings, keeping them stashed away as his band rose to indie stardom after releasing Attack on Memory earlier this year. Although Boyers sharp guitar shaped that album, songwriter and frontman Dylan Baldi received all of the acclaim (which he deserved). Cloud Nothings is Baldis band.
Boyer is stepping out of Baldis shadow and sitting on his songs no longer. Along with Cloud Nothings drummer Jayson Gerycz and Total Babes Chris Brown, Boyer formed Chomp as a vehicle for those hoarded demos, which were re-recorded for Buddha Jabba Momma.
The comparison between Chomp and Cloud Nothings is inevitable, and Boyers songs strongly resemble Baldis earlier material, only sloppier. Buddha Jabba Mommas half-baked hooks and undeveloped arrangements are smothered in angst, scraping along even during attempts at bouncier power pop. Hammers and Nails grates, as Boyer hits massively abrasive non-chords (his strings seemingly go out of tune hallway through the song). He sneers with a repulsive snottiness on Baited, and Mind Rape drowns him in lo-fi sludge.
The frustrating part is that each of these songs has a guitar riff, chorus, or rhythm thats pop-punk gold. Opener Standing to Fail passes as Superchunk to the untrained ear until it descends into a sluggish bridge that promptly kills the spry rhythms and catchy leads. Off-key melodies deflate Chomps song structures, leaving behind limp spouts of noise.
Occasionally, Boyer latches to a sweet spot. Cute breakup anthem Done Waiting grins excitedly at the prospects of being single, and Fresh Wounds twinkles like an 8-bit Game Boy tune. These pleasurable moments show potential, but there are so few of them.
Buddha Jabba Momma sounds unfinished, rushed, and consciously sloppy, as if Chomp recreated Boyers demos verbatim. Maybe they did. Maybe they were going for spontaneity. Theres a certain authenticity to releasing an album with all its blemishes intact, but Buddha Jabba Mommas blemishes are more like serrated edges. Theyre intolerable.
Essential Tracks: Done Waiting, Fresh Wounds