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The Things We Say

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Album Review

The Berlin Project isn't a Terri Nunn tribute band and isn't from Berlin, Germany. What it is is a Pittsburgh-based alternative pop/rock outfit that has evolved considerably since its formation in 1995. After favoring bratty ska-punk on Culture Clash and equally bratty emo/punk-pop on The Transition Radio EP, the Berlin Project reinvents itself once again with 2003's Things We Say. Some punk influence remains, but the bratty, teen-like snarling is gone — and a more polished, mature, sensitive band has emerged. Why the makeover? Different reasons can be cited. First, lead guitarist John Garrighan — the Pennsylvanian who founded the Berlin Project when he was only 14 — was older. He was 22 when Things We Say came out in 2003, and this CD is a reflection of a college-age Garrighan rather than the teenage Garrighan who favored ska-punk and emo. Plus, the Berlin Project has had some lineup changes since Transition Radio was recorded in 1999 and 2000. Jon Belan, the band's new lead singer, doesn't sound like a brat — and his thoughtful, more adult approach does a lot to change the band's personality. Some fans will miss the brattier Berlin Project of the past, but truth be told, Things We Say is superior to the band's previous work. The Berlin Project of Culture Clash and Transition Radio had a lot of growing and developing to do; on Things We Say, the writing is generally more memorable. There is nothing wrong with embracing ska-punk or emo, but the Berlin Project wasn't great at either of those things (competent and likable, but not great). It made sense to move on — and Things We Say, although not quite a masterpiece, is a solid, respectable effort and a creative step forward for the Pittsburgh residents.


Formed: 1995 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Not to be confused with the Los Angeles-based '80s techno-pop/new wave trio Berlin, the Berlin Project is an alternative pop-rock band that has been around the Pittsburgh, PA, scene since 1995. That year, the band was founded by lead guitarist John Garrighan, who was only 14 at the time -- and along the way, the Berlin Project has had its share of lineup changes and reinvented itself more than once. At first, Garrighan's outfit was a bratty ska-punk band along the lines of Reel Big Fish and the Mighty...
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The Things We Say, The Berlin Project
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