Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Promise Ring

  • Very Emergency [Jade Tree, 1999] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Very Emergency [Jade Tree, 1999]
Finding the tuneful poetry in a moment when most punks are well-meaning dorks going through a phase ("Happiness Is All the Rage," "Living Around"). *

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1990s]: Sometime in the '90s hardcore punk spawned the catchword "emo"--short for emotional, more than that don't ask me, including when if ever this Milwaukee quartet epitomized it. But I know this--"emo" and "Promise Ring" are often seen on the same page. Dragged to a 1999 gig, I found them transcendentally dull, only to discover later that album number three, Very Emergency, was indeed a tuneful little number. The special poetry in pitch-challenged lead dork Davey vanBohlen's well-meaning search for love is that nowadays most punks are well-meaning dorks going through a phase. I suspect Very Emergency represented a great leap forward. Old fans, already on the train for two or even three years, claim the opposite.