Here is a cherished album from back in the day. I can’t remember how I heard of it or why I bought it, but I remember loving it my freshman year of college. Part of the joy was that nobody else was into them, and I can kind of hear why now. There are plenty of good songs, especially in the first half of the album, but after track eight (of 12), they really don’t have much to say.
Let’s get the bad out of the way. First, the bad that I knew about 20 years ago. These guys reek of 90’s era earthiness, hippie dippie, wah wah guitar, slap-funk bass, and deeper-than-the-deep-blue-sea lyrics that aren’t even all that deep (consider the pretension of “If art is God/True art has left” and the WTF of “And I touch myself/With just a little bit of confusion”). I knew about these problems back then, but I was eighteen and I kinda thought that, well, first of all, that I was an earthy hippie, and second, that that was cool and where everything was going. Again, god, I was 18. Now I realize I’m just a cynical metalhead with a severe need for health insurance because life.
Which brings us to the new bad. The drummer’s too much and the guitarist often isn’t enough. Together they kind of end up equaling each other out, but there are stretches when the vocalist is singing where I just want the drummer to stop showing me how quickly he can hit so many different hippie dippie drums. During the breakdown sections, it’s kinda cool, and he turns it into a nearly-but-not-quite drum solo. And then the breakdown switches over to the guitar who, in his eight bars, plays like six chords and uses two different effects pedals (see “No One”). Or he does some wakka wakka s**t that gets in the way of an otherwise really good song (see “Rain Will Fall”). And I guess the bassist does a little too much at points, too, with his slap-funk thing (see “Production”)…who ever thought that was a good sound?
Speaking of too antic, “Rain Will Fall” and “Production” are pretty good songs that are brought down by their rapid tempi and so many drums. “Basketball” suffers from the exact same problems but sucks as a song in the first place.
It feels even longer than its 67 minutes. and I mean, 67 minutes, that’s a long album. But some of the songs are pretty awesome, and most are at worst too-long exercises in 90’s excess that have cool parts. This is a 3.5-clown album even though I spent most of the review trashing it. I guess it was just easier to do that.
Mix: “Not Quite Sonic”
– “Levitate,” “Rain Will Fall,” “No One”
– “The Mothers,” “So Gently We Go,” “Production,” “Lost My America,” “Undone,” “And The Experience,” “The Universe In You”
Filed Between: I Love You (All Of Us) and Iggy And The Stooges (Raw Power)
Song Notes: After the jump
- The Mothers – Really good intro track. Nice build into next track. Not so much as a standalone, but nice way for band to introduce themselves to world. I bet they opened concerts with this.
- Levitate –
- Rain Will Fall –
- So Gently We Go – Gets great at the end, but takes an awful long time to get to that point. The whole thing is seven minutes for gods sake.
- Not Quite Sonic – best song on the album.
- Production – oh that slap bass thing is really annoying. and so 1993.
- Lost My America – The last two minutes of this song might be the best two minutes on the album. But it’s 6.5 minutes long.
- No One –
- Basketball – Is this about masturbation? A peeping tom? Why does the first verse seem to be about something completely different than the rest of the song? I used to think that the big “all thoughts and feelings” part was good enough to keep this at open, but, no, I’m disappointed every time this starts. Between the slap-funk bass, the too-busy drums, the cringey lyrics, and the noodly go-nowhere parts, this seems way longer than its roughly five minutes.
- And The Experience –
- The Universe In You – The jam on this is seriously awesome. Takes a really long time to get going, though.