Pulley has released five albums on Epitaph and proven that if a formula exists, it will be used. Led by Scott Radinsky, the smooth-‘n’-manly-voiced frontman whose resume includes Ten Foot Pole and being a relief pitcher in the major leagues, Pulley spends the span of Matters reproducing one track eleven times and leaving room for that short but sweet token acoustic ballad.
In about a decade, Pulley has been compared to Pennywise, No Use for a Name and NOFX, but from the sound of Matters, it seems Bad Religion’s Stranger than Fiction is a major influence. Matters would fit perfectly into the mid-’90s punk mold, and “Insects Destroy” is that crucial “fuck the man” track found on so many albums today (it also has a couple of the edgy and rawkin’ guitar slides that seem to make it onto every Bad Religion album. What’s a guitar slide? My college guitar professor always referred to sliding across the neck of a guitar as “rollerblading” with your fingers. Skip ahead to tracks eight and ten if you can’t find them).
Speaking of borrowing, the second track, “Blindfold,” takes a bit of the guitar riff they used in “If” off their 1997 release, 60 Cycle Hum. But Pulley’s unoriginality in writing music is almost made up for by the strength of the instruments. Mike Harder and Jim Blowers assure that no guitar part is drowned out and that no bass line or bit of rhythm is forgotten. Decent production quality, sure, but the sound is so complete that Pulley seems better suited for live shows than albums, which lack variation and personality that might otherwise be found in person.
The album does have one standout track: “YSC” reveals the self-esteem issues of a disappointed but somewhat apathetic partygoer: “Well, the cops have left and the streets are bare and she’s nowhere in my sight/ It’s normal for me And maybe next week when I go out it can happen all again/ This is what I live for/ One day I will win.” It lacks more than a spoonful of depth, at least to anyone past the age of 17. But musically, the song has just a fast enough tempo to stand out as the most energetic on the album. Perhaps the boys of Pulley should meet up with Blink 182 and learn where to find the girl with “green eyes and long blonde hair” sung about on Enema of the State, no?