New York City punk band Vomitface proudly proclaiming on their Bandcamp page that their new album, Hooray for Me, was, “Recorded in two days in mostly single takes,” certainly sets expectations low for this Steve Albini engineered ten-song set. As well it should, because with the exception of the strong opener, “Senior Pictures”, the entire ordeal is an unfortunate exercise in listener patience. The aforementioned fine first track has the band interspersing crunching riffs with feedback as the band’s vocalist/guitarist Jared Micah, sounding not unlike a youthful Stephen Malkmus attempting to front a sludgy hardcore band without compromising his lackadaisical style, shouts, “Put your face on, put your face on!” From here things deteriorate exponentially.
The band takes a page from the Pixies/Nirvana book of songwriting in an attempt to utilize the soft/hard verse/chorus dynamic throughout the majority of tracks. Micah hits painful-sounding yelps and on occasion even harmonizes with his bandmates in order to replicate a Cobain/Grohl chorus effect. And while Albini’s trademark production is in effect, with the mid-levels pushed to the max so the raw percussion sounds like it’s in your living room, the veteran engineer’s invaluable time is ultimately wasted on Vomitface’s largely derivatively constructed compositions and lazy, banal songwriting.
Bands fortunate to book studio time with an engineer of renown will often be happy enough with their recorded material to find a way to stretch it into two full-length albums. If what’s delivered here are Vomitface’s strongest songs from their Albini sessions, what in the world was left off? In similar situations it would be reasonable to suggest that half of these tracks be scrapped in order to deliver a palatable EP rather than a mediocre LP. However, in the case of Hooray for Me, where so few songs show any promise and originality, the group would have been lucky to walk away with a decent 7-inch.