In the world of punk rock, it's often better to scream than sing. At least that's the approach that singer Ryan Watts takes on "Fifty Thousand Moments," the latest release by Sparechange 00, the Canton band he fronts. Watts strains his vocal cords as he flushes out his anxieties and fears to whoever is willing to listen. In "My Song on the Radio," he laments, "All I've got is this throat," and one can only hope it will still be around for the next album. Like Face to Face's Trever Keith and Bad Religion's Greg Graffin, Watts has that rare ability to belt out every word at top decibel and still sound good.
His vocals drive this five-song EP more than the instrumentation, but the other guys in the band -- drummer Brian Knotts and bassist Don Sedlock -- can play, too. Sparechange 00 combines pulverizing power chords with lots of cymbals and high hats -- a winning combination for any punk outfit. The band lacks only the catchy choruses that tend to vault punk singles into the Discmans of teenagers everywhere. And while its energetic style on "Fifty Thousand Moments" is generally contagious, the band falls short of the mark on "Oceans," a song in which Watts kicks back with his acoustic guitar and turns out a good ol' fashioned song about loneliness and longing. The tune is raw, and the sentiment is strong, but the stripped-down style just doesn't fit the rest of the EP. The jolting switch from the methamphetamine-laced guitar licks to the lonely crooner pining for lost love is enough to give listeners the bends. Watts and Sparechange 00 need to stick with what works: power chords and screaming.