The Successful Failures – Here I Am! (2012)

In the beginning, the Successful Failures played alternative country music, but gradually developed into a true blue rock band. Formed in 2006 by lead singer and guitarist Mick Chorba (who also runs the Chesterfield, New Jersey based FDR label), the group further includes guitarist John Williams, bassist Ron Bechamps and drummer Rob Martin.

To date, the Successful Failures have released four full-length albums, a couple of EPs and a series of singles. Here I Am! (FDR Records) marks the band’s latest effort, and hugs tight to their tradition of excellence, excitement and enthusiasm. By pairing a power pop consciousness with large lashings of garage rock grit, the Successful Failures emit a sound smacking of immediate appeal. Witty lyrics, geared to make one stop and really listen to what’s going on within the grooves additionally accent the band’s catchy music.

Loud guitars, split equally between ringing twangs and fuzzy wuzzy distortion, race tirelessly around swiftly-changing tempos and hiccupping breaks. Squirming and dancing with punishing rhythms and spinning hooks, “Turn It Down,” moves with force and fire, and then there’s “How People Start Sentences” and “The Rise Of China,” which jangle, roll and shuffle with sugar-fueled energy.

Twitching with industrious arrangements and seizing melodies, “Pig Tight Cattle High” and “Mickey Mantle’s Knees” rank as other golden gems appearing on the disc. And get a load of the drumming! Crunchy, punchy and totally manic, the influence of Keith Moon can’t be denied. Confident, upfront vocals, joined by rousing harmonies cement the program.

Referencing both the spangly guitar pop of the Gin Blossoms and the fearless punk related ruckus of the Replacements, Here I Am! is fun and lively. No nonsense rock and roll is what the Successful Failures peddle, and they command choruses of applause for getting it right. Here I Am! is an album that’s good to the last drop!

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.