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Onelinedrawing: Like Coffee with a Former Lover

Posted by July 1st, 2004 No Comments »

Onelinedrawing– The Volunteers
Jadetree Records
By Graham Isaac

For me, listening to a new Onelinedrawing album is kinda like having coffee with a former lover (I don’t think I have to use prose any less cliché than the albums I’m reviewing.) That is, I’ve seen Jonah Matranga perform under the Onelinedrawing moniker several times, as well as with his full band New End Original (it’s an anagram! clever!) and have never been disappointed.

Why the snide tone, you ask? First, Matranga’s best work as Oneline still dates back to the 1999-2000 period, when he was making seasonal EPs. Sketchy 1 and 2 are strong entries for a singer-songwriter of any background, and probably the best stuff to spring from the late 90s, early 00s Emo designation. Second, 2002’s debut full-length The Visitor was quite disappointing. Not disappointing as in, “Oh, I wanted something amazing, and this is merely good,” but more along the lines of, “Oh I wanted something amazing and there’s about half an EP here that isn’t really lame.”

Onelinedrawing– The Volunteers
Jadetree Records
By Graham Isaac

For me, listening to a new Onelinedrawing album is kinda like having coffee with a former lover (I don’t think I have to use prose any less cliché than the albums I’m reviewing.) That is, I’ve seen Jonah Matranga perform under the Onelinedrawing moniker several times, as well as with his full band New End Original (it’s an anagram! clever!) and have never been disappointed.

Why the snide tone, you ask? First, Matranga’s best work as Oneline still dates back to the 1999-2000 period, when he was making seasonal EPs. Sketchy 1 and 2 are strong entries for a singer-songwriter of any background, and probably the best stuff to spring from the late 90s, early 00s Emo designation. Second, 2002’s debut full-length The Visitor was quite disappointing. Not disappointing as in, “Oh, I wanted something amazing, and this is merely good,” but more along the lines of, “Oh I wanted something amazing and there’s about half an EP here that isn’t really lame.”

As a result, it’s with a slight amount of trepidation that I approached The Volunteers. I thought the worst of my fears would be confirmed – that a once-talented artist would be churning out calculatedly over-sincere ballads for the ex-Dashboard set to congratulate themselves on their “indieness.”

Thankfully, it appears I underestimated Jonah. He blows the last theory out of the
water right off the bat with “Over It,” a song that starts as an intimate confession of longing before the drums and guitars kick in and it becomes a hand-holding sing-a-long; both a satire and embrace of Emo’s feel-your-pain aesthetic. There’s another thing; as opposed to the nearly endless expanses of acoustic guitar and piano found on his last release, Matranga shakes things up a bit, throwing in a couple downright rockin’ cuts reminiscent of his New End Original work.

This variety underscores the songwriting, which is generally quite solid. “Stay” features Cure-like guitar lines over near-whispered vocals, and “Boys” is pure pop hilarity that closes with the chorus, “Boys keep fucking up my car!” The disc does have its weak spots; “Livin’ Small” is a well-intentioned anti-Clear Channel song that could use a little more piss and vinegar and a little less whimper. The closer is pleasant enough, but disappears from memory as soon as the track ends. And, there were times when I was reminded why I stopped listening to this entire genre about a year and a half ago. Nonetheless, despite the occasional misstep, it’s good to see Jonah’s back on track to show the rest of the kids how to “get over it.” Word. – (7.5/10)


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