Tora! Tora! Torrance! A Cynic’s Nightmare

[The Militia Group; 2003]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: garage punk, punk rock
Others: Pretty Girls Make Graves, Liars, The Hives

I hate to bring this up and I have been biting my tongue for way too long, but hasn’t this garage/punk revolution been overly similar to the grunge insurrection of the early to mid-nineties. It seems that the two go simultaneously hand in hand. Firstly, the music trend for both was loud and proud. But it doesn’t stop there. Preferred clothing, emotional and poignant lyrics, and an ongoing media craze are all elements that are quite similar from the grunge years to this evolution of today’s punk rock. So when I mention Minneapolis’ Tora! Tora! Torrance!, I immediately think of Stone Temple Pilots. That might sound cruel and unjustified but the point is that garage/punk of today seems to have made the standards much higher than when the movement first started. Unfortunately for Tora! Tora! Torrance!, these standards seem too high to reach.

Tora! Tora! Torrance!’s second full-length album A Cynic’s Nightmare is not a bad album at all. It is filled with catchy and likeable emo/punk songs such as “Another Drink to yr Health” and “I Thought this was a Punk Show” that highlights the band’s tight and robust music delivery. They exude a tremendous amount of strength in their compositions, and most of this album emphasizes their abilities to produce good songs. But unfortunately, they are good songs and not great songs. Most of these songs do not reach the same intensity and emotion that some of the punk/garage bands like The Liars or The Hives have created in the last year. And with that in mind, Tora! Tora! Torrance!’s A Cynic’s Nightmare will be soon forgotten and overlooked in the future. This is the curse of garage/punk right now. The wave seems to be hitting the mainstream but the indie credibility of this sound is violated. And if you want proof, look back at any White Stripes’ Elephant review and you will see that Mr. Jack White still has a hard time achieving the same level of success as his preceding album White Blood Cells. Shame on you for setting the bar so high!

For you kids enjoying this musical revolution (you know, the one’s who don’t even know what grunge is), Tora! Tora! Torrance! is a perfect addition to your music collection. Just a warning; I don’t recall the last time I took some time to listen to my Stone Temple Pilot albums! Maybe back in ’94? Perhaps ‘a cynic’s nightmare’.

1. YR all on our dance card
2. Another drink to YR health
3. Sapphire jungle
4. I thought this was a punk show
5. Bury the hatchet in YR chest
6. A cynic's nightmare
7. Bury the hatchet in the ground
8. Dr. Badd
9. Sweet sweat
10. UFO