Album Review
7:00 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Sleeves: Sex is Stupid

Sleeves is the latest "insta-band" from Cincinnati.  What is an insta-band?

Shawn Abnoxious from the music blog Thwart describes it best when we writes, "insta-bands are those bands that seemingly pop-up overnight without warning... a sort of shock and awe version of a band."

The recipe for Sleeves is as follows:

  1. Take a drummer/recording engineer [John Hoffman], give him a guitar and make him sing.
  2. Then, take an established guitar player [Dylan McCartney], known for his love of post-punk noise and put him behind a drum kit.
  3. Lastly, find yourself "the sickest bass player/pizza maker" you can [Alex Collins] and let him do what he does best - or is it second best?

What you get is Sleeves, a band that comes practically out-of-nowhere and records a five-track EP entitled Sex is Stupid.

Hoffman and Collins originally worked together as the rhythm section for Dead North whose album Spot Remover gathered rave reviews from punknews.org.

Every single thing about Sex is Stupid - from the production to the cover art - is audacious, flippant and openly defiant. In true punk form, Sex is Stupid flips the middle-finger at everything and everyone for no other reason than that they can.

Likewise, in true-punk-rock form, four of the five songs on the EP all clock-in at under three minutes in length - reinforcing their "shock and awe" mystique.

"Dead Bird" introduces the EP with a tremendous rough-hewn garage sound.  It has a great driving rhythm without too many surprises but will certainly get your head bobbing.

The song "Cherry" brings me back to my days of stealing my brother's Germs albums and listening to them as loud as possible. It is fast and loud and over before you realize what you're getting yourself into.

Amid the flood of youthful energy and exuberance in Sex is Stupid, "Montreal," co-written by local artist Lillian Curren, comes across as a very mature song and is my favorite of the lot.

Just when you think you have Sleeves figured out, they throw the song "Houses, Cars" at you. Though the heart of the song has a familiar Ramones/surf-punk mentality, the track opens and closes with an audio exploration that will melt your brain just a tiny bit.

Breaking ranks with the rest of the album is "Plexi Glass" which, at 4:41, is relative epic for Sleeves. Given it's extended length and slowed-down tempo, "Plexi Glass" provides Hoffman the chance to be much more introspective and personal in his lyrics.  The piece is downright touching while still retaining the dark, seedy underbelly that Sleeves strives for.

Look for future shows from Sleeves as they team up with other great local punk bands around town.

Sex is Stupid by Sleeves is available for free/pay-what-you-want download from their Bandcamp site.

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