It's the middle of summer and nothing is as refreshing as a tall cold glass of your favorite beverage, right?
Imagine the emo-pop-punk scene is the sun mercilessly punishing you with rays of golden hotness. What do you do to refresh yourself? Reach for
CBGAV's "Dismissed," that's what, a record combining the best of the pop-punk and emo genres without losing integrity. I'm hard pressed to find
a suitable comparison but CBGAV fall somewhere between the "Eternal Bad Luck Charm" era Connie Dungs and The Scaries. Musically, there is a lot
to like on "Dismissed." The melodies seem pretty simple the first listen through, until you notice the little intricacies in the sound and the
eloquence in the delivery. Another slight tweak is provided by the well-timed, screamed backing vocals which infuse the songs with a touch of
anger, and the stark difference between the two vocalists. Jon, who sings lead on the majority of the songs, reminds me of the Honor System
lead vocalist. His clearly defined style works best on the slower tracks and plays a big part in those songs' infectious nature. Lucas,
on the other hand, hurls the words from deep down his throat spewing a barrage of words full of snarling conviction and anger. It's a great
combination and works well with the smart lyrics and melodies. So go ahead, reach for that tall glass, put "Dismissed" on and lose
yourself in a truly emotional record with all of the catchiness and none of the aftertaste the genre has become synonymous with. - Bart Niedzialkowski
Pop punk can be so formulaic sometimes. Thankfully, Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine throws the predictable old formula out the window. The fourteen
songs on Dismissed retain that energy and melody commonly associated with pop punk, yet they spice things up with interesting song arrangements and
strong lyrics. (CL)
Now Wave Magazine - Mark Hughson's Best of 2003:
Great on the first listen and just got better from there. Punk never sounded so indie rock, or vice versa.
punknews.org | Best Record I Did Not Hear Until 2005:
Although it is from 2003, I did not get it until my birthday of this year (New Years Day). If you, like myself, are having a tough time
waiting for the Lawrence Arms' new record and Cocktails & Dreams is not holding you over enough, I strongly suggest checking out CBGaV.
Much like TLA this band features two singers on top of that gritty Midwestern punk sounds with intelligent lyrics and hooks galore! - Scott "KirbyPuckett" Auth
If you're into the post pop/punk style of Chicago bands like Lawrence Arms or Alkaline Trio, then you'll find this
to your liking. One similarity to the aforementioned bands' sound is that these bands as well as CBGAV all record at Chicago's own Atlas
Studios with producer Matt Allison. Dismissed contains 14 angst-ridden yet melodic songs about bars, girls and life on the road. Cool
double vocal parts and no emo self-pity add even more to make this a great debut. - Johnny Puke
AMP Magazine #11:
"CBGAV should sign to No Idea. They'd fir right in. They've provided here a medly, a concoction if you
like of some the finest of modern punk and emo. Some parts SMALL BROWN BIKE, some AGAINST ME, not to mention a solid grounding in early
Jawbreaker. This album was recorded in Chicago, which makes perfect sense. - RK
Vinyl A Go-Go:
Yeah, yeah stupid emo band. I mean, that one guy has a beard and they're called CHARLIE BROWN GETS A VALENTINE!
For chrissakes, you can't get any more EMO than that. I mean its like a phrase and like, its about hearts and shit. So fuck those guys,
they ain't punk. Plus, they got plaintive vocals and airy guitar lines. Whatta I gotta do? SPELL it for you????
But, but, but. Let's distinguish. No. Let's fuck it all. Emo is dumb. As are Nascar hats and bulky sneakers. CBGAV are NOT dumb. E equals
D but D does not equal C, therefore C does not equal E (what? I enjoy math). I hate to break it to you but CBGAV are not an emo band. Proof:
not once do they wear sweaters (shit, I wear more sweaters than CBGAV), they don't own backpacks and they don't like makeoutclub.com nearly
as much as they like making out (and grabbing ass). They also don't associate with emo bands, and everyone knows that emos travel in packs.
In the Rock and Roll High School cafeteria CBGAV would probably sit somewhere in between the emo and punkpunk tables, spitting spaghetti balls
at both when they got the chance.
Here's the formula: CBGAV take an understanding of, and appreciation for, the snap and wallop of mid-90s pop-punk, render it unrecognizable
with a greater love for Jawbreaker and post-hardcore DC-type stuff (none of which I own and so can?t speak of). And so, yes, they have plaintive
vocals and airy guitars and other post-hardcore keepsakes. But there's a dynamic that doesn't usually exist where airy guitars and plaintive
vocals do. This dynamic partially stems from the fact that they also like Dillinger Four and Against Me! and punk rock (and they all definitely
love Daft Punk). And on this disc those influences shine through more than ever. The result is like a smack upside the head that is unrecognizable
from the last force you were listening to. In other words, as you are digging on the passion packed soothing vocals of Jon you are whacked in the
ear by Lucas? gargling, slurred, rasping chokes.
This dynamic was present on the bands previous album but is even more prevalent this time around, and that is a very good thing. On the last
album I absolutely loved about four out of the twelve songs. Due to Dismissed's amped up dynamics, fucking heart rending and life sustaining
lyrics, and walloping infections there are like 15 out of 14 songs that I dig this time around.
Dismissed seems less thematic than Commencement. Prior to that album Jon had just graduated from college. He was worried about his next move.
Now he's settled in, plotted his courses. There are now lots more songs about drinking, smoking, driving, drinking, life busting your shit in
pieces, and perhaps love. These love songs are different from CBGAV love songs of the past. These are more obscure, less obvious, perhaps less
obsessive, more mature, and more focused on the other party. There's even one song containing a bit of social commentary on the freezing to
death of the homeless in Philadelphia.
This friends, is punk rock, or whatever you want to call it. So don't just think airy love songs. At times yes, Charlie Brown Gets a Valentine
seems a proper moniker for this band. But then they explode in fury and Charlie Brown Gets a Pipe Bomb is a more appropriate name. At those
times the chords are driving, the drums smashing and Jon/Lucas exploring higher realms of piss. You can stop rocking in place and swing your
arms in the air and sing along just like you can with the best of punk bands. All the while you feel something important is happening. And
when they slow it back down again you're happy for the opportunity to be introspective, the time to breath.
So yeah, Jon, Lucas, and Costas, I love this album. It wasn?t hard to review.
PS: I can't end the review without mentioning the cover of A Study In Hers, awe inspiring, low down pop tune. Instruction From Her Hero, A
Young Woman on Guitar. It totally makes me smile.
Shredding Paper #16:
"I honestly don't know what to say about this, other than the cover shot of the bass player looks like my old
friend Jay. It's not that this is necessarily an awful record. It's fairly endearing and born out of a timeless garage mentality. 'Cluttered'
is indicative of what they can do with flailing guitars and tight ass rhythms. The thing is, this the twenty fifth record I've reviewed for this
issue and eventually you want to hear something more, something outside of the box, something fucking crazy, but no such luck here. Most art is
middle of the road or worse so that when we come upon truly great art we can recognize it. - Anthony
Label Note: Maybe it would be a good idea not to listen 25 records in a day, that's a thought that's outside of the box.
Go Metric #17:
"'Caffeine at Night' and 'Forget Tonight' sound a little like Sicko, the rest passes me by."
Emo. With a name that lame I should've expected as much. - Jimmy Alvarado