Volume 91, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



CD Reviews

Negative Kelvin
Channel 1 Records

High school bands come and go. If Negative Kelvin disappeared, the world may just be a better place.

Hailing from Kitchener, Ontario, the trio released their first album, Treehouse, after winning a battle of the bands. Perhaps the band's "success" can be best explained by their strict adherence to the conventions of pop music. Unfortunately, since they make no attempt at originality, every song on this 10-song CD is sickeningly predictable and they all sound the same. Among the more formulaic tunes on Treehouse is "Sold me for a girl." The repetition of the chorus, "girlfriends come and girlfriends go/high school love is all you know/now you've sold me for a girl," finds little on the rest of the album to counteract its numbing effects.

The only departure from traditional guitar-bass-drums pop on Treehouse is the acoustic "Blue." Although the emotions appear to be genuine and heartfelt in this song, the acoustic accompaniment is generic and unimaginative.

Unfortunately, expression seems to fall short of feeling in all of the songs on Treehouse. Perhaps Negative Kelvin is explained best in the lyric – "I wrote it 'cause it rhymes."
–Laura Dunlop

Blue Peter

All Through the Night
Universal Music

If you were a fan of independently-produced pop music at the axis of the late '70s and early '80s, then you've likely heard Blue Peter, a lamented Toronto quartet.

All Through the Night is a good summation of the group's lifetime output, collecting all the singles – from the slick synthpop of their biggest hit, 1982's "Don't Walk Past," to material from their debut album, 1980's Radio Silence and their first EP, 1979's Test Patterns for Living.

Blue Peter, with the nucleus of vocalist Paul Humphreys and guitarist Chris Wardman, was never a huge success – but anyone who grew up in the Golden Horseshoe at the time, always had one Blue Peter song on a mixed tape. In most cases, it was usually the 1981 single "Chinese Graffiti." Also, the group was always counted upon to play at the Ontario Place forum every summer.

It is also fascinating, on hearing this music again, to trace the band's progression from the raw punks in songs like "Same Old Place" and "Factory Living" to the catchy, smart songwriters behind "Radio Silence" and "Video Verite" to the hip funk of "Up to You."

The only regret which becomes apparent when listening to All Through the Night is that few of today's Canadian indie pop punk bands come too close to measuring up to some of this material.
–Richard Moule

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997