Volume 94, Issue 7
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Experts agree: Two out of three CD's aren't good
John Wesley Harding
The Confessions of St. Ace
Good pop music, in the original sense of the term, is a rarity these days. Pop seems to have been hijacked by artificially enhanced teenagers and belligerent punks.
John Wesley Harding may just be pop music's saviour. His latest album, The Confession Of St. Ace, is a varied and assured collection of tightly crafted songs that possess exactly the kind of strong melodies, solid rhythmic foundations and clever lyrics that have been sorely lacking from pop music for so long.
Harding's distinct vocal stylings are wonderful throughout the album, as is his well-oiled five piece band. The opener, "Humble Bee," is a bouncy number featuring a prominent, jaunty piano section. "Too Much Into Nothing" is stunning with soaring guitars and sweeping strings, while the jangly "Bad Dream Baby" features the faintly disturbing backing vocals of Jimmie Dale.
Far and away the best song on the album, is "I'm Wrong About Everything", a soulful, mid-tempo number.
As good as The Confessions of St. Ace is, it is unlikely that this album will receive the attention it deserves. Harding has long been a critical favourite, but the general public seems to think of him as being a Bob Dylanesque neo-folkie and tend to ignore him.
That's too bad it means there are a lot of people out there missing out on some great music. Do yourself a favour and don't be one of them.
Aaron St. John
The boys from Eve 6 have returned with a new album designed, so it seems, for Top 40 radio, high school dances and hockey dressing rooms.
The Los Angeles based threesome have released horrorscope, the follow-up to their 1998 self-titled LP. Fans of the band will be happy to know that absolutely nothing has changed; they've stuck with their proven formula. For the rest of us who are still hoping Eve 6 realizes that they aren't Blink 182, the wait continues to be painful.
None of the songs on horrorscope stray far from the standard Eve 6 guitar, bass and drum sound. As for lead singer Max Collins' vocals, they are still as recognizable as ever. The central problem with bands like Eve 6 is a lack of progression. In other words, this album sounds eerily similar to the one before it.
The current single, "Promise," is the album's best offering, with a solid rhythmic foundation and a catchy tune.
Lyrically, the album offers little in terms of insight or thought. "On the Roof Again" considers a suicidal lover, but with lines like, "Your heinous highness broke her hymen/ hey man try to quit your crying," it's very difficult to take the song seriously.
With horrorscope, Eve 6 have firmly attached themselves to a career driven by power-pop singles, played with little originality or creativity. It's music for the masses, but even this seems too meaningless for them.
Wide Awake Bored
Wide Awake Bored, the latest offering from rock quartet treble charger, is aptly named.
Once named nc-17 (but later changed due to a legal technicality), treble charger made the transition from indie band status to a notable Canadian rock group with seeming ease. In the past, treble charger has been successful in producing songs that integrate meaningful melodies with pure rock a phenomenon common to the contemporary Canadian rock scene.
Unfortunately, the band's latest release shows little growth or innovation from the sounds that have characterized and dulled rock North of the border. "American Psycho" is the first released track from the album and is by far the strongest. It enjoys a catchy beat, smart lyrics and an overall fun, yet edgy sound.
The tracks "Cheat Away" and "Wear Me Down" feature thrashing guitar riffs reminiscent of Green Day in their Dookie heyday. A change of pace occurs with "I Don't Know," a tune with rich acoustic stylings. The album wraps up with "Just What They Told Me," which has a melody that harks back to the band's hit single "Red" but fails to capture that same haunting essence.
At best, treble charger has provided listeners with a competent effort. The main problem with the album is its homogeneity among almost all of its tracks and the fact that Wide Awake Bored is exactly how you'll feel while listening to it.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000