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The Network ‘Trans Am’ EP Review

New Wave artists The Network have secretly been one of the biggest artists of the past 25 years and almost nobody knew of them...until now.

‘The Network’ are one of the biggest bands of the past 25 years, sort of…It’s actually the not-so-secret anymore side project of the American idiots themselves, ‘Green Day’. Billie Joe Armstrong and co have denied any such association with ‘The Network’ claiming (quote), “I don’t know who The Network are and The Network is definitely not Green Day” and this statement is correct in terms of how vastly different the music is. In fact it’s really quite humorous and an ongoing escape from the music ‘Green Day’ are very well known for writing which earns high respect from me.

‘The Network’ actually formed in 2003, one year prior to the release of Green Days seminal album ‘American Idiot’. My mind has been hammered enough by BJ’s Instagram account to know that this tongue-in-cheek side project of theirs is NOT GREEN DAY…I’ll play along Billie, I’ll play along. ‘The Network’ released their debut album in 2004 titled ‘Money Money 2020’. Coincidence much. As of December 4th however, a come back album ever so imaginatively called ‘Money Money 2020 Part II: Told Ya So!’ is set to follow up the message that was left for us from the first record. News of this comes after a new single ‘We Told You So’ was released earlier this month which is yet to appear on any major streaming platforms. Along with this single now comes a brand new EP titled ‘Trans Am’ that was surprisingly dropped online on Friday 20th November. Does this 10 minute EP detail what ‘The Network’ (not ‘Green Day’) predicted over 15 years ago? Let’s find out.

If all the best parts of ‘Talking Heads’, ‘The Flaming Lips’, ‘Hot Chip’ and even ‘The Mighty Boosh’ gave birth to a disgusting mistake of a sound, it would be this and it’s wonderfully weird. Kicking off this short EP is the 2 minute 80’s esque wonder ‘Trans Am’ which gives away the whole “we’re not Green Day” shtick instantly as Mike Dirnts recognisable and treble ridden bass tone layers the song from second 1. Combining this iconic bass tone with the overused keyboard sound nearly every British Indie band incorporated in the early noughties gives the listener a hint of what this album is going to be about. And with the fairly standard, not so impressive lyrics a 16 year old hopeful Sci-Fi screenwriter would have written in a basement makes this opening track a pretty, tinkly revival which sets the tone for the next track, ‘Flat Earth’.

Referring to my comment about the old school BBC TV show ‘The Mighty Boosh’. Listen to this then please, PLEASE, go on to YouTube and listen to ‘Future Sailors’ by ‘The Mighty Boosh’. The comparison is brilliant and uncanny. I’m under the assumption that this wasn’t done purposefully however as I’m not even sure if the comedy show loved by Emos (me included) ever made it across the pond to the states. Both songs are satirical and have a lot of comedic value. Also if you’re offended by the argument whether the Earth is round or flat, listen to this twice.

Third track is my personal favourite, ‘Fentanyl’. Straight kicking drum groove backed up with a dual riff that I can only imagine a live crowd singing back to the band displays a bit more of a serious element from ‘The Network’. Just like most music lovers and listeners, I’m a sucker for a chorus and this is worthy to be in any chart across the world, whether that’s the purpose or not. It has elements from across the board of many big current Alternative/Indie bands such as ‘The 1975’ with a mix of New Wave godfathers ‘Depeche Mode’.

And we’re back to the weird! The weird, political and unfortunately a little bit boring. Three guesses who closing track ‘Ivankkka Is A Nazi’ is about. It leads with a robotic vocoder effect to blend in with the constant increasing tempo that has a House feel to it before a filtered classic Punk drum beat pursues the rest of the track. Ever heard of the band ‘Mindless Self Indlugence’? It’s as if this track was a homage to the messiness of said band without any conviction. It’s charming in a “filler track” sort of sense and leaves a lot to be desired. Not the best way to end an EP.

After a few listens I am intrigued to see where the rest of the album goes especially if it has any other songs as good as the third track. Despite the way it ends, it’s a solid listen and quite different as opposed to what is being released in this current time. ‘Money Money 2020 Part II: Told Ya So!’ will be released on Friday 4th December and as a person who was meant to see ‘Green Day’ live on the Hella Mega Tour this year in London I can only ask myself the following; “will ‘The Network’ now open up for the entire tour?”