CD Revue | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Music

CD Revue

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WORM IS GREEN Automagic ****


In a nutshell, Worm is Green, from Iceland, is the electronic swirling and diving of a slocore Tortoise spiced with the spacey, intense trip-hop beats of Portishead and the buttery ambience of Sigur Ros (delivered more darkly). But if you step inside the nutshell, you might find, a la Oscar the Grouch’s trash can, the walls vanish and an entire world’s hidden inside. The female vocals are what Bjrk might sound like if she were a meditative manic-depressive, and shine best on a mind-blowing, gutsy cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” (Arena Rock)


JEM Finally Woken ****


Several of Jem’s (no relation to the big-haired ’80s cartoon icon) songs open up sounding like medieval Christmas carols, complete with triangle, or even remixed Walt Disney animation songs from the first half of the 20 century (think Snow White or Cinderella). Then dark, lazy trip-hop beats and Jem’s nonchalant, even vocals slide in, striking a nice balance between Dido and Portishead (because there can never be enough Portishead references). (ATO)


EYEDEA & ABILITIES E& ***


Eyedea’s vocal acrobatics will tie your ears in knots, even if his voice is so whiny at times that he sounds like a 3-year-old begging his mom to let him out of Time Out early. Jazz overtones, piano loops and horns make the beat hot, and Abilities’ crazy scratching blurs by faster than hummingbird wings. One of the best songs on E& is the groove-driven “Paradise,” about love’s disillusionments: “Emptiness has a warm, subtle sting.” (Epitaph)


JOHN FRUSCIANTE Shadows Collide With People ***


The formerly drug-addled John Frusciante, who left the Red Hot Chili Peppers high ‘n’ dry mid-tour in Japan in the ’90s, is now clean, back with the Peppers, and making long, drawn-out solo albums of music miles from Anthony and Flea. The first three-quarters of the acoustic-driven Shadows is pleasing: Ballads, dark pop and electronic noodling all digest smoothly. The last quarter, however, could induce a spat of diarrhea. (Warner Bros.)


THE LIVING END Modern Artillery **


Much dilution accompanies The Living End’s self-proclaimed punkabilly. They fall short of being able to give either punk or rockabilly its full due, and instead come off like a pop-punk band with just enough rockabilly flavor in a few songs and a token stand-up bass (which is pictured no less than 44 times in the CD packaging) to claim the crossover. But once past that, their music, although overproduced, is still catchy. (Reprise)

Music CD Revue 1CDD8B98-2BF4-55D0-F1F02CE230558791 2007-06-11 16:18:07.0 1 1 0 2004-03-18 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

ERROR Error ****


Error call themselves “electro-hardcore-punk” on the album’s sticker, but they’re actually electro-hardcore-punk-gloom-spook-noise-industrial-with-a-dash-of-breakbeats-snails-and-puppy-dog-tails-gore. Just think My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult on meth—the gray, crusty kind from West Valley diluted with Ajax and rat poison. Five songs of raw, jagged guitars and merciless, complex industrial beats are neatly pinned in place with screaming vocals drunk on outrage (Gregg Puciato, Dillinger Escape Plan). Also here are Atticus Ross (production, programming for Nine Inch Nails, Zach de la Rocha, etc.), his brother Leopold, and Bad Religion’s Brett Guerwitz. (Epitaph)


THE LOT SIX Major Fables ***


The Lot Six straddle several genres that bleed into one another, including stoner garage (“Autobrats”), new wave (“Ol’ Capitola,” “No UFOs”), bluesy rock (“I Get So Down,” “Go to Sleep,”), piano boogie (“I Was You”), garage (“X-Rayted,” “Out of Control,” “Die Polizei”) and alt-country (“My Baby’s Gone”). Running through all 10 songs is a vein of dirty, lo-fi garage spunk landing somewhere between Mooney Suzuki and Big Midnight. (Tarantulas)


INDIGO GIRLS All That We Let In **


Have they left a legacy? Yeah. Have they stood up for the Goshutes? Sure. Is half of their music good, while the other half sucks? Yes. This album simply cannot come close to the brooding moodiness that the Indigo Girls have been capable of creating in the past. Does it always have to be moodiness? No. But then again, does it ever have to be ska-flavored party music (“Heartache for Everyone”)? (Epic)


INCUBUS A Crow Left of the Murder **


The two bright spots on this album: “Megalomaniac,” the hit radio single, and the Lenny Kravitz-ish drug ballad “Here In My Room,” fade into obscurity next to 12 tracks of mediocre zigzag guitar work, that, if a heart monitor, would signal an ailing patient. Incubus aspires to Tool’s sophistication, but their fixation with off-time riffs and technical breakdowns, incapable of dredging up emotion, leave the listener in an after-daze feeling absolutely nothing. (Epic)


THE FORMAT Interventions & Lullabies *


Get a lot of caffeine before inserting Interventions & Lullabies—Mountain Dew Code Red recommended—unless it’s your bedtime. Dashboard Confessional plaintive-ness jumps rope with mainstream pop-rock, and the world is a darker place for giving birth to yet another band with nothing to differentiate it from the millions of other indie-pop bands out there. “Let’s tune out by turning up the radio”? (“Tune Out”) Let’s not and say we did. (Elektra)

Music CD Revue 1CDD8C44-2BF4-55D0-F1F3AC24BB25B5C8 2007-06-11 16:18:07.0 1 1 0 2004-02-19 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

THE PROCLAIMERS Born Innocent ****


The Proclaimers can really kick out the jams when they aren’t making irritating hit singles for the overly optimistic (they don’t need encouragement, thanks!). The title track is easily the best, and combines the best of jazzy blues keyboard with energetic guitar solos. The fertilizer in the garden is Craig Reid’s vocals (with bro Charlie backing)—his accent swells the music, elevating it above the crowded thoroughfares of so-so. Pub songs like “Hate My Love” and “Dear Deidre” balance with slow diddies for the sensitive like “No Witness” and “Unguarded Moments.” (Persevere)


BEAR VS. SHARK Right Now, You’re in the Best of Hands ***


Not necessarily. Bear vs. Shark do an OK job of emulating, but don’t add their own take on, the indie rock corner they’ve backed themselves into. The jangly guitars, the time signature changes, the battered, screaming vocals, the discordance, the love, the pain ... the love ... the impenetrable, poetic lyrics that non-Saucony-wearers just wouldn’t understand. In fact, BvsS are doing absolutely nothing new—but they’re doing it well. (Equal Vision)


JETLINER Jetliner **


This Queen/Elton wannabe debut has some solid pop-wash moments, like the sweeping piano and bass of “Fast as I Can” and the New Radicals-like “Rules of Attraction.” But hearing lyrics like “I will kiss you in the moonlight/And we will do it just about every night/Every day will be your birthday/We’ll make a big cake,” it makes one want to curl up in a fetal position and yank out patches of one’s hair. But hey, at least it’s not The Flys. (JetlinerMusic.com)


HOOBASTANK The Reason **


This album could be a lot worse. It could be their first album. Hoobastank have struggled out of the no-man’s land of one-star obscurity with The Reason—good job, kids!—but still have to climb a looong way up to stir any non-surface emotions with their current emo ‘n’ nu-metal porridge (emo elements repeatedly pop up, complete with whiny vocals). Hoobastank might be transparently following trends, but the songs are, unbelievably, somewhat listenable. (Island)


NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK Jordan Knight Presents the Remix Album *


Why?! Criticizing this collection is like pointing and laughing at a deer with wasting disease gasping its dying breath after getting hit by a semi. All you feel is pity for an album so stupid in concept it’s an utter mystery why anyone funded the pressing. Ex-member Jordan Knight’s pathetic attempt to recapture some of NKOTB’s past fame—and capitalize on it—with thin remixes and a $15 drum machine, will make you want to, figuratively, shoot the deer. (Hot JWP)

Music CD Revue 1CDD8CE0-2BF4-55D0-F1F06CB77213D83D 2007-06-11 16:18:07.0 1 1 0 2004-02-12 00:00:00.0 0 0
Rebecca Vernon

FANTÔMAS Deìrium Còrdia ****


Fantmas, a shockingly conscienceless criminal in a series of early 19th-century French thrillers, is also the name of Mike Patton’s (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) current project, of which Deìrium Còrdia is the third release. Buzz Osborne (Melvins), Dave Lombardo (Slayer) and Trevor Dunn all take part in this gummy black ball of wounded, experimental art-noise, bitter as wormwood and twice as addictive. Maracas, chimes, choral chanting, opera, Oriental noisemakers and muffled voices screaming in terror and pain one moment and conversing quietly the next would be right at home on the Susperia and/or Eraserhead soundtracks. (Ipecac)


HORRORPOPS Hell Yeah! ***


Straight outta Copenhagen, the Horropops prove you don’t have to be from the U.S. or U.K. to concoct killer psychobilly—or at least, killer surf/rockabilly pop with strong psychobilly roots. The shining star of Horropops is the sexy-accented frontwoman Patricia, upright bass abuser and wife of guitarist Kim Nekoroman (also of Nekromantix). A charming, charismatic Penelope Cruz lookalike, she brings an exotic Eurotrash sheen to the gin-soaked blackjack table. (Hellcat)


MARIA My Soul ***


Maria is a beautiful woman, and no doubt her sultry photos in My Soul’s CD booklet will help her sell her quota of records. Thank goodness sex sells! Nevertheless, the R& -pop of Maria (like Madonna, no last names needed) is so much better than most dribble in said genre—full of deliciously grabbing melodies, gliding violin arrangements, get-under-your-skin songwriting—i.e., “Weakness”—and above all, the breathy, sweet, velvety vocals of Maria herself. (DreamWorks)


VOODOO CHILD Baby Monkey *


Quiz: 1. Moby created the mind-bogglingly mediocre Baby Monkey under a pseudonym in order to: A. Avoid the burdens of promotion, as he adamantly states in the CD booklet. B. Gain underground cred trying to hide an elephant behind a pea—its impossibility banked on. 2. Moby has made an album of “simple, straightforward electronic dance music” because: A. He “loves it” and doesn’t care if it tanks. B. He knows it will sell like hotcakes. (V2)


SKRAPE Up the Dose *


Skrape is the second band reviewed this week who use medicine as their CD theme. But while Fantmas feature real surgical photos in their CD booklet, Skrape’s members simply posed with fake retracting tools, pills on tongues and oxygen masks. The music follows suit. Fantmas ooze gutsy soul, but Skrape’s yawn-inducing nü-metal, including a suspiciously familiar P.O.D.-like riff in “I Can’t Breathe,” while tight, lacks sincerity and is, essentially, section C of marketing plan B. (RCA)