September 23, 2008 - Pop Smear
Are you fighting an irresistible urge to shake it wearing your tightest pair of American Apparel spandex leggings? Worry not: It’s a totally normal subconscious reaction to the musical concoction ex-members of Tsunami Bomb and Pipedown have created with the Action Design. Leaving the fast-paced guitars and drumbeats of their previous projects to the wayside, the magnetism of vocalist Emily Whitehurst (aka Agent M) remains unscathed from her days as a Tsunami Bomber. The quartet truly shine with the inspired and danceable “Landmines” and “All That Night,” both of which burn their colorful hooks into your gray matter. Whitehurst juxtaposes her broad vocal range against swirling keys and guitar harmonics in “The Crossing.” However, she falls short with the dull, creeping ballad “Could, Not Should,” which seemingly fits better at the credits of a straight-to-DVD slasher flick than on this album. Musically, the Action Design step beyond the cliche keyboard dependence of other bands in the dance-punk realm, as their focus is primarily on the bouncy rhythm section and frantic guitar parts. A mold cast by the likes of Metric is hard to break, but the Action Design have the potential to do so.
Metric’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
Tsunami Bomb’s The Definitive Act
Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer’s Schematics