Volume 95, Issue 44

Tuesday, November 20, 2001
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Imagination brought to life

Hank beats up on Joe

Hank beats up on Joe

Serial Joe
(Last Chance) At The Romance Dance

Aquarius Records

One 1/2 stars (out of five)

(Last Chance) At The Romance Dance is the latest attempt by the adolescent boys of Serial Joe to capture a mature, alternative-rock sound.

Unfortunately, the awkward twangs of their guitars and the squeaks sporadically emanating from lead singer Ryan Dennis provide an experience similar to the painful and awkward transition of puberty.

The cover of the album suggests innovation – a mixture of music that combines the sentimentality of old school rock with new age attitude. But, Last Chance is nothing more than a bland arrangement of falsified promises leading from one track to another.

The track "Angry" is a reverberation of all the woes and angst of teenage love endured by the boys of Serial Joe. In fact, most of the album is comprised of tracks that belt out lyrics familiar to fans of country-western crooners.

Tracks like "Completely," "Suddenly," "Unintended" and "Committed" are sorrowful continuations of each other, with only minor variations in beat and melody.

One of the standout tracks on the album is "Go For A Ride," where Dennis tries his hand at impersonation, trying to duplicate the drawn out moans made famous by Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida. Sadly, Dennis sounds more like a dying donkey than anything else.

Last Chance is a shameful display of musicianship.

–Robert Wong

Various Artists
Hank Williams: Timeless

Lost Highway

Three stars (out of five)

You may not hear much about him these days, but Hank Williams is without a doubt one of American music's most influential songwriters.

Before his reckless lifestyle killed him in 1953, at the age of 29, the country music legend built himself a songbook that rivals any of modern music's legends.

With that in mind, it seems as though there couldn't possibly be a subject more fitting of a tribute album than Hank Williams.

Timeless brings together artists from a number of different genres; some are legends in their own right and others are promising young musicians starting their career.

Bob Dylan does a rollicking rendition of "I Can't Get You Off My Mind," while Johnny Cash turns in a wonderful reading of "I Dreamed About Mama Last Night."

Other standouts include Keith Richards' bluesy take on "You Win Again" and Beck's quirky interpretation of "Your Cheatin' Heart."

Elsewhere, rocker Tom Petty, up-and-coming alt-country star Ryan Adams and blues journeyman Keb' Mo' each contribute stellar recordings.

Sadly, Timeless isn't a perfect listen. Both Sheryl Crow and former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler's don't fare well and Lucinda Williams comes off stale.

A hit and miss affair, Timeless may not fully do justice to the legacy of Hank Williams, but when it works, it makes for some great listening.

–Aaron St. John

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Copyright The Gazette 2001