On their self-titled debut full-length, Philadelphia’s The Situation bring together an amalgam of influences that you will be hard pressed to pinpoint. You will hear the swagger of Britpop icons like The La’s and the Stone Roses mixed with the literate pop musings of American artists such as Bob Dylan and The Shins. Like the White Album or Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, the music on the album is decidedly anti-genre. Like Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks, the lyrics on the album are well thought out, emotional ramblings — the two of these together make this album a daydreamer’s paradise. The artwork reflects album’s theme, flesh vs. spirit, which is summarized by the first line from the opening track, “Amoralia.” If this album were an essay on the human condition, this track would be its opening paragraph.
The core of The Situation’s gripping sound stems from the remarkable chemistry between songwriter Christopher Tucker and lead guitarist Joe Castro, whom Tucker dubs “Joey Marr” in reference to the Smiths legend. The group’s 2003 debut, The Reece Nasty EP, drew numerous raves from esteemed publications. The Philadelphia Weekly exclaimed: “Absolute fucking pop genius—if this was NME you were reading, there’d be a little tag above this that said Single of the Week.” The Big Takeover poetically observed that The Situation’s “walls of ringing, arpeggiating Rickenbackers and proper pop songs sound geographically attuned to the Liverpool/Manchester sound—the sound of the Mersey as filtered through the Schuylkill.” Magnet compared the group to ‘60s Brit gods The Kinks and The Small Faces, noting that they conjure “the same wobbly, psychedelic visions that the Brian Jonestown Massacre excels at.” On their debut, they excel even further — this is a capricious album that requires many listens to begin to understand.
Nearly four years in the making, the album was finally completed late 2005 and mixed by Philadelphia’s hardest working producer and soundsmith, Brian McTear whose credits include the likes of Mazarin, Matt Pond PA, and the Capitol Years.
From left to right: Laz: bass, Joe Castro: guitar, Christopher Tucker: Voice and guitar, John Paul Travis: drums