The OffRamps' new album, Split the Difference, features similar antisocial characters, but on this album, they aren't hiding. Toward the beginning of my favorite track of the bunch, Porter belts out, "My hand's on the trigger of somebody's day," reminding me of a less earnest version of Mission of Burma's "That's When I Reach for My Revolver." The track's called "Party of One," as in "I'm the life of the party . . . party of one," and it seems to sum up the album's alone-in-a-crowd discontent.
Although Split the Difference is as lively as Hate It When You're Right, it's much harder, with harsher vocals, more insistent drums, and the occasional hollered chorus. Songs like "Hurry Up and Wait" and "Short of Suicide" add to the edgy vibe and confirm the age-old artistic trope: dissatisfaction provides inspiration. Putting bad moods to good use, Split the Difference tempers its melancholy with upbeat tunes and stretches of predictably enjoyable melodic pop.
The OffRamps release their new album with a show at TC's Speakeasy on Saturday, June 7.
[Review published June 2008]