words: Matt Latham
The term “music espresso” doesn’t google well. Actually it does, as there’s a music store in Boston that specializes in sheet music with the name. But there’s nothing to the idea that a small shot of energy is contained in something quick and tasty that’s over too quickly in musical form in a metaphor for coffee. We enjoy it, want more and become vastly addicted to this new thing you’ve discovered. Aside from describing my history with coffee, this could describe listening to Herb Alert, the new EP from Ellen and the Degenerates. An espresso of punk.
As the band establish a legacy of celebrity pun names, Herb Alert is over in less than ten minutes. Five songs of quick raw no consequence energy that leaves reactions that are less “is that it” and more like the Keanu Reeves “woah”. "Ellen 2020" introduces the listener to the fast loud pace you’re going to get for the rest of the EP. There's the anger-fueled "My House" with the great chorus of “this is my house!” The angst continues with the brilliant flowing verses of "Fair to Me" before it all comes to a head with the also great "Milk".
If you’re not a fan of coffee, then the previous metaphor just loses it’s way very very quickly. You can still listen to the EP, though. You could drink milk because it has a track with the word “milk” in it. Or you could pay for Ellen Degeneres to get laser eye surgery so she gets 2020 vision as there’s a song called "Ellen 2020. Or just listen to the EP. You may head-bang a little, but you can just listen to the EP without doing anything else. I recommend it.