We Ragazzi – Suicide Sound System

2 out of 5

Label: My Pal God

Produced by: Carl Saff

I know I have a low tolerance for shtick, but the forced machismo and lowkey sleaze of We Ragazzi’s debut, Suicide Sound System, really irks me – maybe in part because there’s some aspect to it that seems like it’s trying to be legit, lightly mixing in some awareness / commentary with its constant references to making out and “crushing it”; the combo ends up feeling like the person who takes a women’s studies class to meet chicks. 

You do have good performances on top of this – Tony Rolando has the Make Up shuffle down with his oohs and ahhs, also applying good cadence to his off-key voice to make it vibe well with the post-rock herky-jerk music, which is – at points – a fun, janky take on Jon Spencer-esque fuzz. So we’re swimming through a lot of attitude, here, but the combo, when it’s moreso punked up as on opener Being Alive Is Like Vandalizing, is very thrilling; you can firstly sense this would be fun live, and secondly the excessive ‘tude helps make those questionable lyrics more tolerable. 

But as the album stretches out, such punches are rarer – the group tries for some slower moments, or more fleshed out arrangements (not just stutter step keys + drums + sass) – and these are tactics that would be much better employed on the next release, but here, it’s lost behind that confusing put-upon shtick, like We Ragazzi can’t decide if they’re actors, or trying to be an actual band.