Tyvek – Nothing Fits

January 01, 1970

(In the Red)




Cranked, cracked, bashed
and frantic, Tyvek’s second full-length pogos on a tightrope. There’s an abyss
dropping away on either side, an endless bottom one missed mortgage payment or
judicial crack-up away. And yet a sense of manic joy permeates, too. “Potato”
swings hard on a one-two pendulum, rushed as a late commuter, yet has time,
lyrically, for a recipe for hash browns and a bout of make-up sex. “Animals” is
as straight up as a hard-core song can be, its toughness undermined only
slightly by the kitty mews near its final blow-up. Tyvek reminds you that the
great punk bands had a sense of humor, or at least of absurdity, and that rage
by itself gets boring.


Nothing Fits is Tyvek’s first studio-recorded album and unlike
last year’s (excellent) self-titled effort, it was conceived as a whole, rather
than a series of singles. There is more continuity in the songs themselves, and
so, no need for connective intervals like “Sonora,” “Tecate,” etc. as on the first
album. The other main change comes from a slightly reconfigured line-up. While
singer and guitarist Kevin Boyer is still up front, and drummer Matt Ziolkowski
still pummeling behind, there’s a new second guitarist in Heath Heemsbergen and
another bassist in Shelley Salant (who has since been replaced). The addition
of another guitar seems to have tightened and toughened the band’s sound. The
overall effect has shifted a bit towards the hardcore, though Tyvek’s
unexpected tunefulness emerges in cuts like “Underwater To” and “This One or
That One.”


Of the harder, more
aggressive songs, I like “Outer Limits” the best. The guitar riff cranks the
song up like a tire jack, every rising note a quick, effortful bit of heavy
lifting.  Kevin Boyer, here as elsewhere,
is more of a ranter than a singer, spitting out acerbic couplets like, “Twisted
justice looks just like revenge/the cycle of violence will never end,” over an
aura of controlled mayhem. A weird sci fi interval interrupts about three
minutes in, dissolving the song’s fierce energy into a haze of interspace pings
and hisses.


As on the last album,
there are two cuts with essentially the same title (“Underwater” and
“Underwater To”), but this time, the two seem not to be alternate versions of
one song, but two entirely different things. “Underwater,” coming first, is
barked in a monotone by Kevin Boyer, over a menacing assault of guitar. Its
imagery is harsh, urban, desolate, about empty houses left abandoned in Boyer’s
Detroit. The
signature line in this song, repeated with sing-songy bitterness is about
garbage, the “Safeway bag sticking to my shoe.” The “underwater” idea, here,
has nothing to do with oceans or flooding, but is rather about underwater mortgages.
“Underwater To,” is, along with “Outer Limits” and, later “4312,” one of the
album’s two or three best song. Launched with power chords, it is much sunnier,
friendlier and brighter in tone and subject matter than “Underwater.” It’s
about love, more than anything else, and its keynote phrase is much more
positive:  “Just do what you want. Do
what you feel.”  


“4312” closes the album in
a cathartic rush of punk rock call and response, juddering percussion and
strident, straight-up-and-down strumming. Chaotic enough that it seems likely
to blow apart at any minute, precise enough that it never does, the song is
everything you could want in head-pumping, hair-pulling, anthemic punk.


Nothing Fits is a quick hit of adrenaline, a battering, disorienting blast of
surplus energy that channels, occasionally, unexpectedly, into tuneful pop.
It’s one of the best punk albums out there right now, a worthy heir to the
catchy but aggressive tradition of Volcano Suns and Swell Maps.


DOWNLOAD: “Outer Limits”, “Underwater To”, “4312” JENNIFER KELLY


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