All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Review: The Courage Pills - The Courage Pills

The Courage Pills – The Courage Pills
2008, The Courage Pills

West Chester, Pennsylvania natives The Courage Pills have the right idea. Formed just two years ago, they already haunt the clubs and venues of Philadelphia with a sound that is steeped in punk rock energy and a pop-hook driven musicality that’s bound to make the most cynical critic look up and take notice. The Courage Pills are no slouches as musicians either, with lead guitarist Michael Schramm featured in the March 2007 issue of Guitar Player magazine. Despite the recent loss of their original drummer, The Courage Pills continue to weave great pop/post-punk tunes in the same vein as Graham Parker’s former backup band, The Figgs. The Courage Pills sent along a seven-song demo entitled The Courage Pills. Let’s take a look.

The Courage Pills open with Way Down, an Americana flavored tune with an underlying punk sensitivity. The song is incredibly catchy with a bit of a garage sound to it (as if it were a live recording, which it may be). Open Our Eyes is a live recording, and is another incredibly catchy creature. The Courage Pills ride a big guitar sound and an almost Jim Morrison style vocal here to a bit of pop/punk nirvana. The melody will not escape you, recurring in your brain until you want to stomp on it. It’s infectious and a lot of fun. Cut Back The Lawn heads for Americana territory again with a surprisingly smooth sound offset by electronic voice box supporting organic vocals. The arrangement here is wonderfully smooth and high brow and shows The Courage Pills broadening their range of sound.

Cemetery Song has a manic, almost new-wave sound to it. This is perhaps the song with the greatest commercial potential on the demo; although the vocal/guitar mix is very muddy and should be clarified (vocals and guitar are at the exact same level, meaning the vocals become lost at times). Cemetery Song carries the same sense of pop hook wonderment mixed with the frenetic punk energy that underlies much of what The Courage Pills play, and is thoroughly infectious. Dumptruck is a little more driven, sounding a bit like early Figgs material. Swan Song is a glorious romp with big guitars and an almost Pearl Jam style pomposity. For alt-rock fans, Rabbiteater is the song you come to the Courage Pills for. Easily their most complex composition from the material here, Rabbiteater shows a band jumping to the next level artistically. This particular recording is rough, but shows the distinct potential of the band as a future entity.

The Courage Pills are a young band at a crossroads. The first real personnel change is just behind them, and they show the restless tendencies of a band just starting to take wings and find its true voice. It’s generally within the next year that they’ll either explode into the band they’ll become or implode into a mass of good intentions and lost potential. If I were a betting man I’d pick the former. The Courage Pills mix pop and punk in a style reminiscent of Ben Folds, and there is a real hunger for great Rock N Roll out there right now. The Courage Pills could be part of the answer.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about The Courage Pills at or It does not appear that The Courage Pills have any CDs or MP3s for sale online at this time. You can stream six of the songs discussed in this review on their MySpace page, although Rabbiteater is curiously not available. Perhaps if you message them through the MySpace account they’ll sell you a copy of The Courage Pills.


Paul said...

These guys are GREAT! I've seen them live several times and they never disappoint.

EmKayAnde said...

I go to every show I can when The Courage Pills are there. I dig their sound and they are some of the nicest guys I've ever met.

keith said...

I just got the new CD, absolutely fantastic...I would recommend these guys to anyone in this genre! Let's get some airplay!

Anonymous said...

Of course I have a predjudice, but.... even if these guys were complete strangers, this CD is totally awesome. The chords, the vocals, co-mingling of the instruments is like listening to a symphony!! The CD is available on I wish them all the sucess in the world and much love. Mom, Lisa

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