Volume 91, Issue 72

Thursday, February 5, 1998

Smarties


ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
 

CD REVIEWS



Gratitude
Purple City
Independent


It's hard to say exactly why this band decided to name themselves Gratitude. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude as: being thankful, appreciation of and inclination to return kindness. Therefore, what follows is a brief list of things Gratitude should be thankful for:

First, Gratitude must be thankful to the god, if any, they believe in. Some higher power endowed Louis, the lead singer, to join forces with the vocal combination of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies). Just try to imagine the horrid sound they produce.

Second, Gratitude must be thankful to their guitarists, Matt and Mark. They possess an amazing ability to reproduce pseudo-Soundgarden riffs, but in a slower manner – an attempt by the band to sound cool.

Third, Gratitude must be thankful to their megacity home, Toronto. It is quite apparent that if they did not live there, the odds of anyone funding this album are about a million to one. Since Toronto's population is so high, there is a greater number of insane people there than in other cities. This means the chances of finding someone with money – and without a sound mind – are a lot easier.

Purple City by Gratitude is totally unoriginal, uninteresting, banal and obvious. If Gratitude has any inclination to return the kindness that the buyers of their album have shown to them, here is a suggestion: return the money used to pay for the album and apologize.

–Eric Orticello



Choke
Needless to Say
Smallman Records


This third release from Choke, a young band from Edmonton, at first brought three words immediately to mind – make it stop. Please God, just make it stop. While there is a need to explore different musical styles, throwing any and all chords together, playing each instrument in a different key and then shouting lyrics that don't get heard over all the chaos just doesn't sound good. It is obvious Choke, fronted by vocalists Shawn Montcrieff and Jack Jaggard, isn't concerned with music that makes sense. This lack of desire for musical acceptance is intriguing and makes Needless to Say one of the better albums of its genre.

The first impression this album gives is downright annoyance. But if it's listened to a couple of times, there are good things about it that can't be ignored. While the total randomness of chords and frantic time changes are distracting, the lyrics are strong and honest.

"Nothing" focuses on the feeling of being directionless, while "Wasted" explores the wonder of finally achieving that B.A., which somehow stands for "qualified to be head dishwasher." These themes are common with what is categorized typically as a young, angry band, but the lyrics in here are intelligent, not whiny, which somehow makes the bashing more respectable.

Another unique aspect of Needless to Say is it plays through the 13 singles as if it is all one track. Each song has an abrupt end, but then is picked up by the next track without missing a beat. While this can be misinterpreted as unoriginality, the different themes of each song hold their own and make each track identifiable.

Choke just doesn't care. The tracks are stylistically identical because that's the style they like and as long as the lyrics define them, why change? This is an album by four guys who are just having fun, sounding like they want to sound and anybody who doesn't like it – can choke on it.

–Christina Vardanis




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

Copyright The Gazette 1998