Volume 94, Issue 19


Acting fails to save story

Radiohead's Kid A not child's play

Titans more than a football movie

Live in Concert

Fuel ready to fill the tank
Everything's good for Blair

Fuel ready to fill the tank
Everything's good for Blair

Blair Packham
Everything That's Good
blare! music

Could it be that a Barenaked Lady has secretly gone solo under the name Blair Packham? It's just so hard these days to differentiate one flavor of "pop candy" from the next.

Blair Packham has been at work long enough to have formulated the perfect recipe for his solo album, Everything That's Good. A former lead singer for The Jitters, Packham has completed projects including the musical score for the television series Destiny Ridge and various The Sports Network themes. His experiences and multiple talents are combined in this catchy pop composition that swims up your inner ear and into your subconscious, resonating there for days.

The appetizer, "Everything That's Good," is so hip it hurts. The number belongs on the soundtrack for a movie like Can't Hardly Wait. Packham's vocal ability and poetic lyrics add spice to what could have made "She Just Is" and "Crying A River For You" bland boy band love songs. The creative groove of "NV" picks up the pace of the album to the satiating harmonies in "Where Do You Stand Lucy?" The final song, "I Don't Know," is a mellow dessert with which to digest the record.

The album's tracks are short and catchy enough so you never have a chance to get tired of a song. While many of the songs have the typical infectious three-chord combo, Packham recorded Everything That's Good without the help of boy band maestro Lou Perlman, which takes talent.

If you have a sweet tooth, Blair Packham's flavors of "pop candy" are bound to satisfy your cravings.

– Joanna Mansfield

Something Like Human
Epic Records

Fuel, the gritty, energetic band from Pennsylvania, has created a fantastic mix of hard rock and mellower acoustic tracks which blend perfectly on their sophomore effort. Something Like Human features new synthesizer-aided cuts that are extremely successful.

The band's musical cohesiveness, grit and smooth timing, are all assets that contribute to their exceptional sound. The opening track, "Last Time," is a gem, wrapped in edgy rock with a fine hint of grunge.

Lead singer Brett Scallions' vocals are tremendously endearing and are best exemplified in the track "Bad Day," in which he leads the band in an acoustic number that stands apart from the rest of the album. It's nature is comparable in rhythm and tone to their biggest hit to date, "Shimmer." It's a that Fuel does not have more songs like this on the album.

On the song "Prove," Carl Bell's lead guitar skills shine through. His imaginative and distorted riffs are truly impressive on this track. His remarkable guitar aptitude is even more apparent on "Down," in which he lets loose with inventive and imaginative fills that leave the listener begging for more.

With roots that seem to stem from combinations of bands including Creed, Collective Soul, Stone Temple Pilots and Soul Asylum, Fuel cannot go wrong. Their dynamic sound is a rare breed in today's music and helps to form an extremely solid set of rock tunes.

– Jared Rochwerg

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