Bands whose only distinguishing feature is a singer who sounds like Johnny Rotten with a bad cold usually don’t make much of an impression, but the Pattern’s soulful rock riffage and short, tightly constructed songs leave little time for boredom or the sense that you’ve heard this all before. Singer/Lookout! Records CEO Chris Appelgren’s voice better suited his old outfit, the punkier, rawer Peechees, but it jibes well enough with the fleshy twin guitar attack of Jason Rosenberg and Andy Asp, and the steady, rhythm section of Carson Bell (bass) and Jim Anderson (drums, replaced by Scott Batiste on the subsequent LP). The energetic punk/soul hybrid suggests a poppier, apolitical MC5 if Rob Tyner inhaled helium and had a sinus infection, but each of the six songs on the debut ends too quickly to wear out its welcome, from the tight, overdriven rock of “Finger Us” to the hard bluesy stomp of “Mary’s Sister.”
Real Feelness is similar to the EP, although Appelgren’s vocals are a bit more rock bellow and a bit less sniveling twit. The lyrics occasionally delve into dangerously precious poetic territory. (Beware any rock song that includes a line like “Shadow’s deepening forevermore,” as “Nothing of Value” does.) However, the words are hardly the point, since the Pattern specialized in brief, danceable barn burners, not snappy couplets. The quintet only managed to cobble together nine new scorchers for the full-length (“She’s a Libra” appeared on a previous single, “Mary’s Sister” is a slightly different version of the EP track), one of which, “Rangefinder,” is a quiet, pretty ballad that seems out of place on the otherwise frenetic record. Both releases could have been combined into one solid LP. The Pattern called it quits in late 2003.