Tuesday, June 12, 2012
If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Street Date: 6/12/12
THE DB'S- FALLING OFF THE SKY
I suppose some, or possibly many of you will find it criminal that I am not a fan of The dB's. I know this as I have already heard from a few of you regarding the new reunion album "Falling Off The Sky." You are an excited bunch. I didn't get it then and I don't now.
The dB's, like so many power pop bands, rely on jangly guitars, driving rhythms and mellifluous harmonies. But I find this band falling short on all three of those traits.
My main issue with this band is that I just don't like the vocalists. Unlike Lennon/McCartney, Brian/Carl/Dennis/Al, Clarke/Nash/Hicks, CSN&Y, McGuinn/Clark/Hillman, Auer & Stringfellow and the quintessential harmonizers Phil & Don, the sound of Chris Stamey's and Peter Holsapple's voices together rarely seem as one. Sorry, I can't do any better than that. Just like those who won't listen to Dylan or Lou Reed, brilliant songwriting notwithstanding, I have an aversion to the sound of these voices.
There are some fun moments on "Falling Off The Sky," like the 1-2 opening punch of "That Time Is Gone" and "Before We Were Born," as well as the sweet ballad "Far Away & Long Ago." But songs like the very bouncy (and annoying) "The Wonder Of Love," the grating "Write Back" and the very cheesy "Send Me Something Real," which sounds like a poem that may have been written by a 12 year old, are third-rate. I don't get it.
RUSH- CLOCKWORK ANGELS
Now that I've put some of you powerpopsters off, let me continue to confound you. Between 1975-1982, Rush released 7 records that remain some of my favorites of all-time. Since then, there really hasn't been one record that I've truly embraced as a whole. Back in February, Derek Davidson offered a wonderful piece on latter day Rush, with a Top Ten of post-1982 songs. I enjoyed the compilation, but the fact remains, when I finally got Rush, they changed.
Now, 30 years later, the band continues head-on with "Clockwork Angels," a record that is so dense and so busy and so loud, it's hard to concentrate on anything. I would imagine the playing is still stellar, as Geddy, Alex and Neil are some of the finest musicians alive. I just can't tell. The production is so hot and frenetic, everything blends into one thing. Think of a steaming slice of pizza with everything on it. Can you really taste all the ingredients? I even found myself saying something I'd never thought I'd say. "Man, Geddy's vocals are buried. That sucks."
Still there are some moments like the ominous, riff-heavy opener "Caravan" or "The Anarchist," a song that very simply, rocks. But you know, the way Rush rocks, with its various tempos and time changes, stops and starts. Also, two songs "BU2B" and "BU2B2" (standing for "brought up to believe") would again, probably work better if they had much less going on. "Clockwork Angels" is a record I want to like, but sadly it just makes me nervous.