Volume 92, Issue 67

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

unaffirmative action


Some neurosis with your cake?

A plan for greatness

DJ competition turns the tables

Hermit emerges to a sticky web

Hermit emerges to a sticky web

Clayton Park
Sonic Unyon

Think equal parts Atlantic pop and '70s riff rock and you've got a nice tall glass of Clayton Park.

This album has an impressive range of sounds – jam band rock, snappy and smart East Coast lyrics and vocals, Southern rock guitar crunch and sassy pop hooks. It is truly diverse in its sound and feel. Not only does it rock, but its enthusiasm is contagious. Air guitar 101 is a definite prerequisite for listening to this album.

The band wears their influences on their sleeves and has some great shirts. The sound is rich, enjoyable and guaranteed to please. In an attempt not to be pigeonholed, Thrush Hermit jumps from style to style over the entire album.

While their influences are obvious, the true uniqueness of this album is easy to appreciate. A six-minute Atlantic pop jam? Yes. Southern, CCR-esque guitar crunch under lilting sweet pop lyrics? Yes.

It is a veritable cornucopia of Atlantic pop diversity. This album has so much charm, charisma and flare it will most certainly garner the band a great deal of attention.

The only thing which could possibly trip up this album's greatness is the ordering of the tracks. The first four songs are so good, they almost put the rest of the album to shame. Had the strong first four tracks been interspersed amongst the other songs, the album would have been that much better.

Looking for a phrase to describe the whole album, "more hooks than your grandpa's tackle box" jumps to mind. This album oozes with poppy goodness from every pore and is chock-full of radio-friendly sounds. With lyrics like "These violent dreams get worse I get better/You know it's the only thing that keeps me together" perfectly compliment the rising and falling pitch of lead singer Joel Plaskett.

This colourful collection of wonderfully arranged, beautifully instrumented pop gems is certain to please even the most casual fan of Atlantic pop and is sure to thrill fans of the band. All in all, a great superlative collection of pop anthems.


Fireworks City
Mother Records

Audioweb is a four-piece band from Manchester, England, signed to U2's own label, Mother Records. The thought of a UK band affiliated with the Irish pop greats is one with definite potential to be promising. However, in the case of Audioweb, it is a disapointment.

Their songs are so repetitive, boring, banal and derivative, it's gut wrenching. Licking the driveway is more enjoyable than listening to this entire excruciating experience in pseudo-reggae pop.

Lead singer Martin Merchant's vocal style ranges from Jamaican reggae star to whiny britpop no-talent. Every single note in every octave is ear piercingly horrible. His voice is simply unbearable. One man's words cannot bring pain to the masses like the sound of Merchant's realized in each track.

Listening to the entire album is best accomplished on an empty stomach, while gently massaging the temples. This blends the repetitive nature and duplication of each song's central rhythm into a more digestible mixture of crud. Sure, repetition is an effective trick to learn multiplication tables, but in trying to win over conscientious music fans it's not the best method. A little variety please.

In today's bandwagon trend of music lovers, being from the UK is sometimes a band's only premise for garnering a fan base. Audioweb fits this preliminary criteria suitably, but have nothing going for them after that. Fireworks City is terrible, irrelevant, void of any social commentary and unnecessarily hard on the ear drum.

Not enough bad things can be said about this band. Not only was every part of this album bad, the cover art and liner notes stink of pretentious art house wankerism.

Please mommy, don't make me listen to Audioweb.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999