“The band is certainly intrigued by sounds other than the straight ahead approach of guitar/bass/drums,” says lead vocalist/guitarist James Snyder. “This is the first recording which we’ve used anything besides that, i.e. piano, bells, triangles… We wanted to colorize the record a bit more so that even after 500 listens there would still be something that you hadn’t heard before. I dig records like that.”
Throughout its near-decade of existence, the quartet has made its fair share of digable records. The band formed at the beginning of the 90’s, while the guys were still in high school. Since they rehearsed in guitarist/vocalist Dave Weston’s basement, they took his surname in tribute to his parents, who occasionally get recognized in Bethlehem because of the name.
Along with bassist/vocalist Jesse Short and drummer Jeremiah Attanasio, Weston quickly emerged from the basement, earning a reputation for hook-laden songs and an energetic live show. The band’s first album, A Real Life Story Of Teenage Rebellion was released in 1994. Followed by 1995’s Splitsville (a collection of 7″ and compilation releases), 1996’s Got Beat Up, 1997’s Matinee and 1998’s Return To Mono (a Japan only release).
In 1997, Matt Pinfield included Weston’s album, Matinee, in his Top 10 list on MTV’s 120 Minutes. The New York Times also chose them as one of the top 10 unsigned bands. They have performed or toured with such notable acts as The Descendents, MXPX, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, as well as on part of 1997’s Warped Tour.
The new album borrows its title from an oft-used phrase by John Lennon during the making of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. After the basic tracks were recorded, Lennon would ask producer George Martin, “And after this we’ll have the Massed Alberts, won’t we George?” The ‘Massed Alberts’ were an English comedy duo, of which one played the trumpet rather badly. With this, Lennon meant it was time to add the ‘clever stuff’, the brass.
The Massed Albert Sounds lives up to the aspiration of the title, not because of the extra instrumentation, but because it sounds like an album. It opens with the power pop sugar of “I Just Quit Rock And Roll,’ before an orchestral segue breaks the album open with the thundering “To Some I’m Genius.” The record seesaws like that throughout, never losing an even keel of hooks and melodies. Produced by Snyder and the band and mixed by Mark Trombino (Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182) the bells and whistles and strings and horns are all there, but it’s not over-ornate; just do-it-yourself alternative rock that sounds professional and inspired all at the same time.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, The Massed Albert Sounds.