Numbers On Napkins - "NON Essentials: The Best of Numbers On Napkins" CD

Phoenix Nightlife Magazine

September 2021

Written By: Craig Brown

RATING: 4.7 Stars

Next up is some good ole homegrown punk rock, courtesy of the Valley’s very own Numbers On Napkins. NoN’s latest album, “NON Essentials: The Best of Numbers On Napkins”, is a collection featuring all of the bands top notch material that they have released over the past decade and a half. Numbers On Napkins officially retired earlier this year, and this album is the final release that helps to solidify the bands legacy. NoN starts off the album strong with “Forget This, I’m Going to Tokyo”, which manages to really showcase how incredibly talented the band was. Intricate guitar and bass lines are complimented with insane drumming and powerful vocals. The song is catchy, and is a great introduction to the band.

The second track is a familiar tune titled “Runaway”. As I listened to the song, it dawned on me that I actually heard the song many times in the past, and during the mid 2000’s “Runaway” was frequently played on various radio stations and was occasionally screaming through speakers at bars and nightclubs across the Valley. The single is a poppy melodic love song that had five minutes of fame, but quickly vanished soon after.

The album continues to produce solid tunes after that, and “Runaway” is followed by “Go Away”, which is energetic with a party feel to it. One thing that makes NoN stand out is the fact that the band has four different lead singers, and every member takes a turn performing lead vocals. Drummer Tad Gurthman performs lead vocals on “Go Away”, which has a more raw and graspy sound when compared to the polished vocals that guitarist Moe Money sang on “Runaway”, or the wide range and soulful style that bassist Chase Stain delivered on “Forget This, I’m Going to Tokyo”. Although “Go Away” also contains a unique sounding bas line, due to the effects that bassist Chase Stain uses on the track.

Track four is NoN’s modified pop punk version of the 90’s hit, “Baby Got Back”. While Sir-Mix-A-Lot managed to make their mark with the popular single, NoN takes the song to a completely different level, turning the tune into a comedic love song with vocal harmonies that portray a sense of pure passion regarding women’s back ends.

The fifth track is titled “Summer Daze”, another very strong single that has simple and catchy music, with obscure but poetic lyrics. The chorus says, “I spent my summer days in a Summer Daze”, as Chase Stain sings about falling in love with a charismatic and stunningly beautiful girl named Summer. After “Summer Daze”, Moe Money returns to lead vocals with “Ten Years Ago Today”, a somewhat sad song about an aging punk rocker who is sad to se the scene change as he gets older. “Ten Years Ago Today” has amazing lyrics, and Money’s pristine and polished vocals make the song work perfectly. The track has a Blink 182 feel about it, as does the majority of the songs that Money writes and sings.

NON Essentials takes a slight shift with track seven, “Fat Girls”, which is a highly offensive rant about overweight girls, and how they refuse to perform oral sex on them. Chase Stain sings the vocals over a simple hillbilly style acoustic guitar riff, and lets the listeners know that the band is obviously not looking to score any points with the morality police. It’s clear that NoN doesn’t offer any apologies for the tune, and the track helps establish the band as pure punk rock that just doesn’t give a fuck.

Track eight features both Money and Stain performing alternate lead vocals, a process that gives the track a “Taking Back Sunday” vibe, and is followed by the hilarious, “My Girlfriend Bit My Dick Off”. Track ten, titled “Ode to the Drink, once again throws things into a different direction. The song is an Irish folk tune with traditional sounding lyrics. The acoustic guitars and bodrhan help give the song an authentic feel, and for a second I was sure that NoN had covered the track, but after checking the CD insert I was surprised to learn that both Stain and Gurthman wrote the well written lyrics. Stain sings using an Irish accent, and the song is perfectly executed and pure perfection.

Every song on the album is amazing, which I guess I should have expected, considering that the album is a “Best of” album. “Burnin’ Bridges” is a strong hate song with harsh lyrics. “Burpin’ Our Way to New Mexico” features clever lyrics about life while on the road touring. “True Love” is a punk rock love song about a girl named Britney that gives great head. “Bad Decisions” (which is the only track that features NoN guitarist Matt Martini on lead vocals) is a funny tune about a man getting vomit on his dick while squatting over a puke covered toilet to drop a deuce in a men’s bathroom. And “The Last Song” contains narcissistic lyrics with a progressive indie rock sound mixed with a melodic post hardcore edge and a wild synthesizer.

The thing that really makes NoN stand out in comparison to most valley bands is the fact that they have such a unique and diverse style about them. The fact that NoN utilizes the talented vocals of everyone in the band helps make each song sound different, and helps keep the album fresh sounding.