A split can be a really tricky thing. Often, it’s one artist that a listener is at least somewhat familiar with paired with another artist that they, quite frankly, probably don’t care about. In the case of bands with bigger names, this is a great way to get smaller bands recognized. What about when two fairly unknown names put out a split together? It’s just filler, right? Sometimes it is – actually, most times it is – but one time it is not is in the case of The Traditional and Of Fortune and Fame’s split.
The Traditional, a Buffalo, NY quartet, were the half of the split I was not familiar with. The first track on their half of the split is “The Perks of Being Alive,” showcasing their exceptional musicianship; especially the guitar solo toward the end. The vocals on this track left something to be desired, though. I am not usually a fan of more whiny vocals, but at the same time, it has worked for a lot of bands (My personal favorite, The Wonder Years, included), so maybe it is something I could get used to. The lyrics were a tad cheesy (“You’ve got your mother’s eyes, and your father’s when you cry”), but the musicianship in the last half of the song makes up for most of the reservations I had with the first half.
The second track was so impressive that I had to give it its own paragraph. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too impressed by the first track; it was good, but not anything I would remember in a few weeks. This track, though, hit right where it hurt and then kept on swinging. The angrier vocals definitely worked here, and the lyrics were equally heated (“Broken and bruised, I did this for you, but I’ll never do it again / I’ve learned my lesson”). The aggressive guitar and drums at the end, paired with the vocalist screaming, gave the entire track a more gritty feel – something a listener is more likely to remember than just your standard pop punk song.
Syracuse, NY pop punkers Of Fortune and Fame close the split with “You Blew It!” and “No You Didn’t,” two tracks of solid musicianship and heartfelt lyrics with a DIY mentality that those who have tried to make a life for themselves on the road will appreciate. They directly state “I’ve never been handed anything,” in “You Blew It!” and, quite honestly, the only qualm I have with the song at all is that I immediately thought of the emo band by the same name – which isn’t a bad association at all; it's just slightly confusing when browsing one's iTunes library. The second OFAF track, “No You Didn’t,” builds where “You Blew It!” left off; it’s reminiscent of old school pop punk (think The Movielife and New Found Glory), but still smacks of modernity.
The Traditional and Of Fortune and Fame have crafted four tracks of surprisingly memorable, heartfelt pop punk that I will most definitely be returning to in the future.
Links: The Traditional - Of Fortune and Fame - Bandcamp