The Ergs

Upstairs/Downstairs

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Review

The joke hasn't yet worn thin for the Ergs, but the seams might be starting to show a bit. The Jersey pop-punk trio's second full-length album isn't exactly a bid for mature artistic credibility, but it's notably less willfully silly than what has come before, and frankly, some of the jokier topics feel a little stale. Songs about Isaac Asimov fanboyism ("2nd Foundation") and recycling clich├ęs derived from +The Music Man ("Trouble in River City") aren't exactly the height of cleverness. On the plus side, however, the Ergs' knack for ultra-speedy, ultra-catchy pop-punk tunes in the best tradition of the Ramones, Undertones, and Queers continues unabated: these 15 tracks get knocked out in a breathless half-hour of breakneck tempos and ramalama melodies topped with the group's trademark silly/smart lyrics. Picking individual highlights of an album designed to rush past in a breathless, geeky blur is a fool's errand, but the gloriously bratty "Books About Miles Davis" is a particular gem. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi