Dean Engles, front-man of the ironically named Quarterbacks wears his heart proudly on his sleeve, then, it seems lends his T-shirt to every girl in his neighbourhood, never to be seen again, such is his propensity for romance. “As I get older, I realise love is mostly situational,” he reflects on 'Center', which explains why their debut offers 19 tracks in under 22 minutes; Engles finding love in almost every situation in turn resulting in every situation yielding some form of lyrical inspiration.
It's clear the irony of the band's name isn't lost on them either, and much like American Football or Modern Baseball, there's little in the way of the overt masculinity that their name suggests, instead opting to create a kind of self-styled twee-punk that rattles along with the speed and energy of hardcore whilst upholding the syrupy sugaryness of twee.
The album itself collects every song the band have written thus far, loses the drum-machine of earlier releases in favour of a live drummer and significantly amps up the production, allowing for Quarterbacks to feel well-rounded and uniform, despite it being a collection of sorts. And such is the nature of the short and sharp tracks on offer, that the record is really best taken in its entirety with several tracks often finishing before you've even realised.
That isn't to say each track blends in to another (though critics will probably say otherwise) as each feels like a vignette, a flashback, containing its very own places, emotions and personalities. 'The Dog's is a 28-second long track about a man with two puppies, (though Engles still wishes “you” were there to see it), whilst 'Knicks' is about a baseball game on in the background and a friend's recent break-up. And though the record rips and rattles towards its conclusion with wilful abandon, it has far more in common with Beat Happening than Black Flag, the wistful and sometimes jaded memories more akin to The Mountain Goats than Minor Threat.
And that's what's so great about it. There's no drawn out metaphors, no tired clichés (ironic or otherwise), just honest song-writing, and though the narratives might well be suffering from a case of nostalgic ADHD, there's no denying the occasional flashes of genuine pain that cut through the emotional syrup like a hot knife. “One time I showed you a song/You only thought that it was kind of good/ I never played it again/ It wasn’t even about you.” Engles aches in the closing moments of 'Pool', he might not be winning any literary prizes, but he's got twenty-something angst down to a tee.