CD Review: LaGrecia – On Parallels

LaGrecia – “On Parallels”
(Suburban Home)

How does the equation work? Something like this:

Kid Dynamite > None More Black > LaGrecia

It’s not fair, but Jason Shevchuk will never be able to shake the specter of Kid Dynamite – not now, not ever. Shevchuk is always going to have his first band looming in the background of every future project, especially those with punk sensibilities. The worst part is, had he never been in Kid Dynamite and made two superlative hardcore touchstones, None More Black and LaGrecia would be perfectly fine. Sure, they’re new bands, and completely separate from Kid Dynamite, but they’re A) Punk bands that B) Have Jason Shevchuk singing. Avoiding comparisons is inevitable. LaGrecia manages to sidestep most of the Kid Dynamite brouhaha by working a little closer to the alt-rock side of things than hardcore.

The band has pop sensibilities, but manages to work in some punk riffage, not unlike early Foo Fighters or Story of the Year’s more recent output. Catchy, but not so abrasive or fast as None More Black. There are times when the songs slow to ballad speed – not Shevchuk’s forte, by any stretch. Still, when the album works well (mostly in the first half, especially on the opener “Hey Medic” and the handclap riffs of “In the Grass”), it’s on point.

Of course, being as how LaGrecia broke up and None More Black reformed, this album seems more like a solo exercise than anything else (especially when you consider these songs were originally intended to be solo acoustic stuff). Unless Shevchuk decides to port some of these songs along with him, the few scattered shows LaGrecia played will be the only time anyone ever heard this live. Sad, because what was good was great.

My Lightning” (from On Parallels)