Ultimately, I think, the exact thing that provides the Singing Lungs’ debut album Groan with its initial fisty appeal is also what confines it: its obstinate, unwavering simplicity.
Well, I guess I should have known from their Bandcamp blurb that I was dealing with a pretty meat-and-potatoes enterprise, that they’re a “band from Grand Rapids and Lansing playing ‘90s influenced punk rock, or whatever.” It perhaps should have been obvious from this playful concession, in other words, that I were not dealing with the next Mozart-level virtuoso of musical showmanship here.
The question is then begged, on a certain level, as to why they do this. Well, it is fun, to a point: third track “Hanging around,” which at just over two minutes represents I think the ideal length for a Singing Lungs song, concludes with a repetition of the words “hanging around” that has kind of the cheeky charm of Green Day, with relatable subject matter along for the ride. Musically, it’s about at the median Singing Lungs sound, with electric guitar that’s like half-melody, half-distortion in that Guided by Voices/Times New Viking sort of way, moving along with a little more rhythm and a little less nauseating conceptualism, of course. With the considerable swell of droll intimacy here, I think “Hanging around” would have made a good album closeur, so a firm finger-nagging goes out to him credited with the sequencing of this album.
Subsequent track “Disappearing Act” with its amount of duration, alone, will make you, well, groan, or do a disappearing act, neither of which would presumably require five minutes of somebody’s valuable time toward the purpose of hamming out this self-same pop/punk which isn’t really HARDCORE enough to actually “rock” in a “punk” sort of way and is nowhere near good enough in terms of sound to play on the radio, or even on somebody’s Bluetooth in a restaurant or café. Would I go see this band if they were playing a house party? Probably… I’d likely even be willing to fork over about five bucks to get in, or so, if I had to. I’d probably even raise my beer once in a while, or whatever.