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Volume 90, Issue 92
Wednesday, March 19, 1997
Soundwaves: Fool's gold
Secret SamadhiRadioactive Records
Attempting to mine more platinum records, Live's shovels have come short of Throwing Copper. After incredible success with its last album, which went seven times platinum in Canada, the group from York, Pennsylvania is not resting on its laurels. In fact, the quartet is trying to continue to use its formula for success and suffocate them.
A lot of bands these days use words like growth and experimentation when describing what they attempted to do to in their follow-up to a successful album. Live tries to do something different and ends up pushing its Throwing Copper-style beyond reasonable limits.
Not only does the music convey a bleak outlook, it is bland. If it weren't for the extensive use of guitar, this album may have produced a number one hit in the pre-rock 'n' roll era.
Secret Samadhi simply has no jump to it. Almost every song begins slow and mellow. If the CD player track number display is broken, it'll take a minute or so to figure out which track is playing because that is how long it takes before lead singer Edward Kowalczyk starts screaming.
The best two songs on the album, "Century" and "Lakini's Juice," are a refreshing break from the slow-to-speedy-back-to-slow pattern characteristic of a Live song. "Century" nicely works in an acoustic guitar at the beginning and "Lakini's Juice" uses a consistent guitar thump that carries the tune through the slow-to-speedy-back-to-slow pattern by itself.
Last time out, the band's lyrics took a religious focus, especially in the mega-hit "Lightning Crashes." This time around, the band has fallen back to earth so to speak and written lyrics with more of an elemental focus while maintaining the same religion-oriented phrases, evident in the song "Graze."
Another theme that runs through the dark and drab music is death, also typical of Live. "Rattlesnake" begins with the line "Let's go hang out in a mall or a morgue" and "Ghost," although the reference is to closet skeletons, talks about a boy dying after he loses a rib.
This album is definitely depressed teenage material in both its lyrics and the slow tempo of the music itself. Not recommended listening after a bad day.
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