At one point in hardcore's past, Detroit's legendarily nihilistic Negative Approach was one of the scene's big influences. Today it's been eclipsed by Professional Approach. Pro Approach, however, isn't a band; it's an attitude, a mindset that makes young groups pay more attention to "promotion techniques" and "potential fan bases" than to reaching deep inside their souls and shoving their guts in your face. Murder in Memphis is a proud disciple of Pro Approach; Obvious as Whiskey, the Denver group's debut EP, reeks of every shallow, pandering, flavor-of-the-month punk cliche plucked from the pages of Alternative Press. These five songs are the sound of mall punk self-consciously trying not to sound like mall punk. But a few random screams and cartoonishly outraged lyrics aren't enough to make this disc stand out from the herd, let alone sell itself to the mass audience it so desperately craves. Somewhere inside Murder in Memphis, there's probably a decent band trying to do the right thing and just be itself, Pro Approach be damned. Let's hope it happens someday.
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