Yesterday, I noticed that the always enjoyable Weird Canada heaped praise on the debut LP from Vancouver’s Needles // Pins and hit the nail square on the head with mention of Screeching Weasel.

Now, there was a time when people sang songs about Ben Weasel, defending his crotchety persona and loving his snotty, sugar-coated pop hooks. As it turns out, Joe Queer was wrong. Ben Weasel actually is an asshole, but make no mistake, SW was front in centre for a resurgence in pop punk that dominate the mid ’90s that now influence countless punk outfits.

What makes 12:34 more than just another slab of catchy two-minute, 3rd generation Ramones-core nuggets is the attention to melody. There’s more depth to these songs; you could toss around names like Cheap Trick, Costello or The Cars and explore the ’60s, ’70s rock explosion but it seems unfair. The recipe for pop punk and garage rawk is usually so restrictive - buzzsaw guitars, cymbal levels in the red, oh and sing about girls or beer - that any unique sonic compositions deserve some credit. When those usongs are as solid as 12:34, well, they deserve your undivided attention.

These 22-minutes blow out your speakers and might result in you pogo-ing through your floor. The energy is high, a trucker cocktail of speed or a case of those 5 1/2 hour energy drinks, but Needles // Pins holds it all together with steady bass lines and nice harmonies. The riffs are pulled taut and the sneer is still there, but Needles // Pins still manages to charm like an English gentleman.

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MP3:: Matt Mays - Chase the Light