Review: Knockout

“Searching for Solid Ground”
(Fearless Records)

Is there some store I’m not aware of where they sell musicians?  I feel like there must have been some big sale at one of these secret stores somewhere in Southern California on generic punk singers.  The voice isn’t as immediate as Mike Ness’ and isn’t as agile as Joey Cape’s, but hey, it was on sale.  Knockout is another one of those bands’ whose credit card was surely near its limit when they stepped into the Singer Aisle at CrapMusicWorld.  They bought their dude (half-off!) and now the CD is in your stereo and you’re feeling like you’ve heard it before, but no, that was Good Charlotte, no wait, it was New Found Glory, no wait, it was…You see what I mean?

When Johnny Half-Price croons, “All of this time I’ve been so lost and you stayed with me / Please take me back because I want to make you happy” you almost believe him, but you don’t want to.  You don’t want to believe that subtlety is such a lost art.  You don’t want to believe that anyone would bother to write such painfully obvious sentiments.  You don’t want to believe that the requisite pop-punk accompaniment is as formulaic as it sounds.  You don’t want to weep for the future.  You don’t want to.  Then “Artificial Pheromones” begins with the couplet, “When we get back from this place / I’ll put a smile on your face” and you break down into tears.