10 Minute Warning: 10 Minute Warning

0000138218_350Seattle’s 10 Minute Warning’s claim to fame is that their rhythm guitarist was Duff McKagan, who would, in the time between 10 Minute Warning’s two active stints, serve as the bassist for an L.A. band called Guns N’ Roses. It was on 10 Minute Warning’s second active stint, after GnR had mostly imploded and McKagan had moved back to Seattle, that the band would record their self-titled, and only, album.

There is no reason to listen to this unless you are some kind of manic Sub Pop or Guns N’ Roses completist. I like the dirty punk riffs of the guitars of McKagan and Paul Solger, but this attempt at returning to proto-grunge a la Green River fails due to a lack of strong identity on the part of vocalist Christopher Blue. Blue, with drawn out notes and quavering melodic lines, is singing as if he’s in some alt-rock-era pseudo-grunge band like I Mother Earth, I Love You, or My Sister’s Machine, but what’s needed is more of an angry punk carnival barker kind of thing, a la Mark Arm. So for the most part you just end up with a big mismatch, and when Blue’s eccentricities do blend into the rest of the music, it’s just middling, because it doesn’t have the raw aggression that the instrumental members do best.

So the band’s got the wrong personnel for either style, and it’s confused about what style it wants to be. Side projects and the like are often meant to be experimental. Not sure if this one was or not, but either way it was a failed one. And in any case, this isn’t completely without merit, and it’s inoffensive as all get out. It’s just boring and completely unengaging.

– “Swollen Rage,” “Buried,” “Face First,” “Mezz,” “Erte,” “No More Time,” “Is This The Way?,” “Pictures”
– “Disconnected,” “Pictures”
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. Swollen Rage – about divorce, I guess
  2. Buried – Oh maybe this is the best one. Who knows.
  3. Face First – probably my fave, but really hard to make full. They stop with like a minute to go and could end the song there but then come back for why?
  4. Mezz –
  5. Disconnected – I like the outro with its different groove and the move into it. Making broken more as reason for differentiating than really hating on it. Chorus is annoying the way the rhythm doesn’t match that of the spoken word, though it is literally disconnected when done that way.
  6. Erthe – Slow and spooky start, seems requisite. boring but then becomes inoffensive. Except that chorus(?) that’s about the rat race…that’s kind of another miss, a perfect example of an aggressive band trying to fall into some weird minor-keyed groove thing that’s not their strong suit. Then the guit solo’s pretty boring.
  7. No More Time – another slow start with a dirgey bass line. Picks up speed into very aggressive punk thing. Ends up maybe being the best track, but hard to make full heart.
  8. Is This The Way? – Another pretty aggressive one. This is probably my favorite, even though I didn’t really notice it until this last time through. It’s the fastest, punkiest one.
  9. Pictures – Here they try to get all epic with a slow, picked guitar intro before the whole band joins in on a 6.5 minute long song. Has some redeeming elements, namely the unexpected chord progressions in parts, but overall it’s too slow and plodding and not what they should be doing.

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