Lucky Boys Confusion
Preserving the sunny, party-time, good vibes of southern California’s LBC, Lucky Boys Confusion emanates radiance in a pop-punk kind of way with their newest release Commitment. In a music scene driven by lonely, broken hearts, Commitment is a pleasant shift away from such damaged posturing.
The album kicks off with a dub reggae track and from there, the pace picks up with the simple anthem “Hey Driver,” in which the singer, known as “Stubhy”, chants, “The big life, big deals, beginnings…Hey driver to the top of the world!”
From there, “Sunday Afternoon” featuring Half Pint and the disc’s hidden track are the only other songs with that dub groove. Although they might not be fused in seamlessly with the rest of the album, they are still good songs.
Other tracks worth singing along with are “Broken,” “Medicine and Gasoline,” and the title track, “Commitment.”
While songs like “Mr. Wilmington” and “Blame” deal with serious issues such as teenage suicide and watching friends who are stuck in a downward spiral, Commitment is a rather upbeat album overall.
Lightheartedness is the key to many of the tracks on Commitment. In what is probably the best line on the entire album, the band boasts, “I don’t want to stand and say I’m sorry / I just wanna drink beer and play Atari.” This line is from the aptly-titled, “Atari.” It isn’t very often that you hear something that genuine in its lameness.
The different styles do not blend exceptionally well between tracks, but each individual song is worth listening to in full.
All in all, Lucky Boys Confusion’s Commitment is really a stellar work of punked out youth enthusiasm, and it’s everything radio-friendly, pop punk from southern California should be.
– Joe Gettler
Detractors of Dave Matthews Band, prepare for the pain. Some Devil, Matthews’ first solo effort, has everything his band’s opposition hates. It’s all here, from the wanky spaced out guitar playing, to the trademark Matthews vocals, all the way through to the ridiculously cliched lyrics.
While Some Devil is slightly more enjoyable than anything DMB has put out, it’s still going to make those who don’t enjoy the band want to yank their hair out. One of the only reasons this record works better than DMB’s efforts are the guest appearances.
Matthews chose to leave plenty of room for guest spots, including everyone from his frequent collaborator Tim Reynolds to a full symphony orchestra. Trey Anastasio of Phish also appears on about half the songs.
Unfortunately, there is still a disgusting amount of Matthews present. Once in a while, (a very long while), the songwriting on the album works, as with the sparsely arranged guitar of the title track.
More often than not, however, we are left with what sound like weak, second-rate DMB songs (“Dodo”) or tracks showcasing his ridiculously antiquated lyrics (For some reason, he includes a portion of “Ring Around The Rosey” in “Gravedigger”).
All in all, this will be a worthwhile addition to DMB fans’ collections. However, Matthews should hone his songwriting skills a bit before quitting his day job.
Take Me Home
Frat-rock has a new act to add to its roster: Zox. To understand their sound, picture girls with flowing locks wearing flowered skirts and unshaven boys dancing barefoot while passing a bong around. Or just think O.A.R with a violin.
Zox do well to show off their folkie wares on their debut album, Take Me Home. Their first record is an honest attempt to combine the jam band feeling with a classical kick. While the influences are eclectic, it falls a bit short of greatness. Through 13 original tracks, the album has a mellow yet whiney tone. It’s nothing that hasn’t been heard before in the parking lot before a Phish or Dead concert.
Take Me Home’s most distinctive aspect is also its greatest flaw: the lyrics. Zox’s songs offer simply-phrased thoughts that everyone can relate to and understand. Yet, most of their songs don’t offer much more than what’s on the surface – there isn’t much to think about. Depth is sacrificed for accessibility. The songs focus mostly on love, loneliness, more love and life realization.
While not destined to become Poet Laureates any time soon, the members of Zox redeem themselves by mastering their instruments. The band’s virtuosi rendition of “Pachelbel’s Canon” shows their appreciation for classical music with a clever rock twist.
Zox could probably headline any college party, but Take Me Home proves the band has the potential to be the opening band to the opening band at the next Dave Matthews concert.
Bands featuring an actor in the lineup are a touchy proposition. Does anyone actually listen to Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar or The Bacon Brothers? Common Rotation, featuring Adam Busch, (better known as Warren from the cult TV hit Buffy: The Vampire Slayer), on vocals, beats this stereotype by simply being tolerable, not to mention the fact the band’s actually quite good.
Common Rotation meld equal parts radio friendly guitar rock, indie and country to create a sound that is nothing if not unique. Busch’s twangy voice sometimes resembles that of Garth Brooks, and believe it or not, that’s not an insult.
The rest of the band, including Eric Kufs on guitar, Ken Beck on drums and Mike Uhler on bass craft a sound that has the laid back yet big rock feel of bands like Dave Matthews Band and The Counting Crows.
Common Rotation even channels the sprit of Bob Marley on the reggae-flavored “Sit Down.” Genre experiments aside, Big Fear is decidedly radio friendly. The first two tracks, “Indie Rockin” and “Post Modern,” both have “hit single” written all over them.
Unfortunately, great hooks and good tunes aren’t always enough. The big problem with having a country influence, as Common Rotation does, is that there are many listeners who hate country music and don’t even seem to be sure why.
However, if these listeners can get by their high class, ivory water prejudices and give Big Fear a decent shake, they will find something they might not have expected: A good album.