System and Station: A Series of Screws

System and Station: A Series of Screws
For over a decade, System and Station has been a staple in the Portland, OR rock scene. While other bands have come and gone, System and Station has had a stick-with-it attitude while obtaining marginal small success. On their fifth album, A Series of Screws the group continues making their brand of unapologetic rock.
I will admit that I have always had a soft spot for System and Station. When I was a fanzine editor back in the day, Crustacean Records was one of the first labels to send me music to review. System and Station’s Pictures Found in Paragraphs was one of the CDs in the first packages I ever received. So whenever I think of the band, I get a warm fuzzy feeling although I do not particularly remember if I liked or hated the album.
It is with those same fuzzy feelings that I approached A Series of Screws but with the uncertainty of exactly what I was getting into.
The album starts off with arguably the album’s weakest song. “Pain Pills” is an acoustic post-grunge track that reminds me of something Days of the New might have released in the mid- to late-90s. Even the tracks lyrics are ham-handed. Like an emo Kanye, lead singer RFK Heise sings “Don’t fuck up, go get your degree/so you can shovel shit and pay for the feel.”
Fortunately, “Pain Pills” is not indicative of the rest of A Series of Screws. The rest of the album reminds me much more of Cursive; it has that kind of hard indie rock styling that made Domestica such a great album. And while I found a Cursive element pervasive in all their music, there are other comparisons to be drawn on a per song basis. “Pardon Me” has a main guitar line that reminds me of Pinback. “Go Meet Your Man” utilization of the cowbell and its guitar line is reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age. The drum line’s play with the riff-y guitar line on “Last Words” sounds like something from Mock Orange‘s The Record Play.
All these indie rock influences really coagulate into one solid cohesive album. With the exception of the opening track, the album really has no bad songs on it. I am not well versed enough to say this is the best album of System and Station’s career but listening to A Series of Screws has made me want to go back and listen to my old System and Station albums to see if they could possibly live up to this.
Rating: 8.0/10
MP3: System and Station “Go Meet Your Man”
Buy: iTunes