Ten Foot Pole “Simmer Down” Review

Ten Foot Pole
Simmer Down
People Of Punk Rock
Released: October 9, 2020

Like any other art style or what have you, scenes go through stages. Unless you’ve been hanging out, sippin’ beers and puffin’ joints under a giant rock of late, you’ll have noticed that the new thing in Punk rock, is the acoustic album. The late great Tony Sly was doing it way back when, as was his good buddy Joey Cape, and since then, it seems everybody has jumped aboard the bandwagon. For some it works, and for others you’ll want to bang your head on a wall and plug their guitars back in for them.

It comes down to a case by case study. And luckily for us, Simmer Down, the new fourteen track album from Ten Foot Pole translates pretty bloody well to the acoustic guitar. Like Sly and the songs that we all know and love from No Use For A Name, the acoustic versions feel new yet familiar. A fresh take on a long loved friendship. It’s sort of like watching yours kids grow into adults, I suppose. These songs from our our teen angst years, where all that mattered was mastering mean kick flips on skateboards and which of your crew was holding the best buds. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. These songs that we’ve grown up with are now showing the maturity of age like we are. Well, allegedly anyway. We’re all still skate punks deep down. With busted knees and day jobs. Responsibilities and all that shit.

I must burst a bubble or two here now, though. I totally should have made some dad joke and used the song title for Broken Bubble there. Damn. Anyway, where was I? Oh right. Simmer Down is marketed as an acoustic album, but that bass sure sounds like it’s running through an amplifier to me. That’s no upright bass. A great punk rock swindle is at play here, I suspect. I suppose it doesn’t matter that much. I just felt the need to point that out. Now that I have, lets move on.

See also : Panic Problem “Just Calm Down” Review

“Sometimes I really prefer the intimacy, sound and freedom of a stripped-down acoustic presentation, without all the distortion and bashing cymbals that can hide the vocal and guitar nuances that bare the soul of a song” states Dennis Jagard. It turns out, that Jagard began to appreciate the acoustic approach as more than just a way to rehearse and write alone. Perhaps the limitations imposed during this rotten pandemic made writing on an acoustic more feasible. I’m totally spit ballin’ here but perhaps it was easier to kill time at home instead of meet up with the lads and jam new tunes.

Sifting through the track-list without looking up the songs, and suddenly I’m faced with the tenth track, A.D.D. Not just one of my favorite Ten Foot Pole tracks, but one of my favorite punk rock tracks. Full stop. Simmer Down just moved up a notch on my ranking scale. The final track, My Wall, is an intriguingly somber rendition that makes good use of the piano. There are some solid tracks amongst this collection, let me tell you.

Personally, I’ve found some rather pleasant moments in these acoustic renditions in recent years. Simmer Down is no exception either. Yes, Ten Foot Pole can pull off the unplugged feel with success. I still prefer the original versions, no doubt. But as I’ve grown and aged, I have found myself reaching more and more for acoustic records. Those of yore. The Pink Floyd’s and the like. So there most certainly is room for bands like Ten Foot Pole in that regards. This is one I know deep down that I’ll be reaching for down the line. When the COVID quarantine blues set in again, and with a second wave starring us all in the face, they will. When I want to be out camping but for whatever reason, whatever obligation or the weather prevents it, those are the days I’ll be looking for this and albums like it.

This collection of acoustic tunes would be perfect for an intimate session around a fire pit on a sexy Californian beach. With the sea breeze gently blowing through the people listening. The scent of coconut sunscreen wafting about. Sand in all the places sand shouldn’t be. Cold beers in hand. Seagulls screeching for dropped fries. I can just picture it now. Probably because those COVID blues are starting to seep into my soul again.

Simmer Down releases on October 9th through People Of Punk Rock. Secure your copy now! Just follow this here link.

For Fans Of : No Use For A Name, Lagwagon, Strung Out
Track List:

01. Sarcasm Decoder
02. My Addiction
03. Sequel
04. Forever Road
05. Ride
06. Broken Like Me
07. Scars
08. Don’t Be A Dick
09. Numb
10. A.D.D
11. Rather Not Be
12. Broken Bubble
13. The Getaway
14. My Wall