Volume 92, Issue 3
Friday, May 29, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Kravitz and The Watchmen stand still
With every new Lenny Kravitz record, there are those who look forward to seeing what kind of new spin Mr. Kravitz has tried to put on the rock-funk genre. There are also those out there who wonder how Kravitz will bastardize this music once again, in a new and "original" manner.
With his new record 5, it is apparent Kravitz is attempting to break out of his creative cage. Those familiar with his earlier records will enjoy 5 but will note a few slight changes in the movement and direction Kravitz is taking with this new recording.
It seems Kravitz has finally managed to step out of his purple haze and put his guitar aside for sequencers and horns. He toys with an electronic sound on the track "Supersoulfighter" and the trip-hop styling of "Thinking of You."
A large part of this record seems like a clash between Sly Stone and Nine Inch Nails. This may sound innovative to some but still comes across as flat and overproduced.
There's no doubt Lenny Kravitz is a talented individual, he just seems to sell himself short by trying to expand his boundaries, while spinning his proverbial wheels all at the same time. Kravitz is in need of a visit from "Grandfather Funk," George Clinton, who hit the hammer on the head when he said, "free you mind and your ass will follow." Odds are 5 isn't going to propel Lenny's career any further, but will stand as a summer standard that will definitely be heard in countless cars and cottages this season.
EMI Music Canada
With Silent Radar, it's apparent The Watchmen may have finally hit a wall. Moment for moment it holds its own, with melodic, driving and alterna-stylish tracks. However, a problem lies in the area of familiarity it's just about the same album as their last. And come to think of it, the one before that.
There's no real growth here and little forward movement. They sound like they're stuck in first gear, or maybe even second.
On its own merit, Silent Radar does have its moments. The pensive ballad "Any Day Now" is compelling and the title track builds quite nicely as well. But considered over their past few albums, The Watchmen's dilemma is fairly obvious they need better songs. With the right material The Watchmen catch fire. With rote alterna-riff-rock drivel, they almost sound like a Tragically Hip cover band. This is not a good thing.
If one were to introduce The Watchmen to someone, Silent Radar would be as good a place to dive in as any of their albums. Some six years and five albums on, however, that is not necessarily a compliment.
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