September 26, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 17  

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CD Reviews


War All the Time

Although the album is named War All The Time, Thursday's third full-length album will have you wishing it was Thursday all the time. From the pulsating heavy riffs on the opening track "For The Workforce, Drowning" to the whiny screams on "Tomorrow I'll Be You," this album is the definition of screamo.

The insightful lyrics and social commentary on tracks like "This Song Is Brought To You By A Falling Bomb" creates the feeling of an intelligently written album.

This feeling turns to knowledge when the instrumental side of the album is taken into account. While other rock bands play basic guitar riffs and unoriginal drum tracks, Thursday ventures out musically, taking advantage of their ability to write harmonies, create inventive guitar lines and interesting beats that are above the level of most of their counterparts.

With War, Thursday has managed to make one of the best albums of the year.

-Myles DeRosse


Erykah Badu

Worldwide Underground
Motown Records

Erykah Badu sure knows how to mix hip-hop and R&B together to make one soulful album.

Worldwide Underground features artists such as Queen Latifah and Angie Stone to add to this new, flavourful sound. Unlike any other album, Badu has successfully compiled lyrical songs all inspired by her own mentors and experiences in life.

Badu had her breakout in 1997 with her first album, Baduizm, which drew comparisons to Billie Holiday. Her grooves and delicate phrasing immediately removed her from the league of cookie-cutter female R&B singers.

Freestylers and R&B junkies will be drawn to tracks that range from slow and simmering to fast and hard in order to keep along with the rhythm of the vocals - the thing most Badu fans love about her. The album begins with relaxing songs like "Bump It" and by the end of the album, you can still feel the tempo beats of "I Want You."

-Arlee Rosenberg



Caught by the Window
Maple Music Recordings

Pilate's "Into Your Hideout" is the current MuchMusic video slut, as it's been neatly slotted into the coveted "high rotation" category - and you can kind of understand why. With an infectious beat, this track was packaged and ready for delivery to mainstream ears.

Pilate's lead vocals may sound familiar, as Todd Clark was once enrolled in Western's own music program.

This breakout band embodies a Brit sound, morphing hopeful, striking chords with angsty, borderline whiny vocals. And how does the thriving single compare to the remaining twelve tracks? "Overrated" and "Perfect Thrill" exude similar energy, while "Mercy" could be the next hit, with lyrics like "I'm so tired and I'm so wired/And it's not enough to pray for mercy yet."

Despite the overall melancholic undertone of the album, Pilate proves they've caught up with the interests of industry.

-Lori Mastronardi


Rob Szabo

a battery of tests
Basement Bar Records

This Kitchener native's first solo album is a tale of alienation, confusion and emotional suffocation. His words are sung in a tortured voice laid over melodic repetitive guitar hooks and simple drum beats.

The weaknesses on a battery of tests are immediately recognizable. Szabo's voice, although infused with passion, is limited in range and it becomes blatantly clear he cannot hit high notes. His minimalist approach works on a lot of the songs but often leaves you desiring something more complex.

When Szabo deviates from the singer-songwriter formula, he has mixed results. The song "if I could do it all again" sounds like a blend of mediocre alt-rock and Ryan Adams, while his poppy ballad, "you don't believe me anymore," comes off as something that would be right at home on an EZrock station in a dentist's office. On the other hand, "umbrella song" is an exhilarating country-rock sing along tune that is a perfect departure from the depressing stuff before it.

Where the music falters, the lyrics compensate. The need to "feel alive" and escape stagnation is captured brilliantly in "one more for the road," where Szabo sings, "I've cut down the trees, burned all the leaves/ just to feel the sun again."

Although certainly not a masterpiece, Rob Szabo's solo debut is worthy of recognition as a solid Canadian album.

-Colin Fleming




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