Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Ralph Covert and the Bad Examples

Smash Record

(Waterdog Records; US: 11 Jan 2011; UK: 11 Jan 2011)

Definitely not the next Beatles

Ralph Covert and the Bad Examples ought to be a rip-snortin’, butt-kickin’ bar band, kicking out three-chord songs while not busily swilling whiskey and, I don’t know, eating hot dogs on fire or something. The cover of Smash Record suggests as much, as do the band photos featuring five shaggy, slightly-long-in-the-tooth guys proudly sporting chunks of a shattered Stratocaster. But here’s the thing: Ralph and the guys don’t want to be the next George Thorogood and the Destroyers. They want to be the next Beatles, which is a trickier ask altogether.


With a couple of exceptions—the exuberantly in-your-face “Your Ex-Girlfriend” and snaky “Devil Is in the Details”—the songs on Smash Record don’t measure up. Minor-chord bridges and sensitive singing are present in abundance, but little of it stands out, and it certainly doesn’t rock. Opener “Big E Chord” kicks off promisingly enough, but soon degenerates into somebody sounding like Oasis sounding like you-know-who. This happens altogether too often. Neither Covert’s voice nor the playing of the band is unusual enough to stand out from the crowd, and lethargic songs like “No Message in Your Bottle” and “Your Problem Now” do nothing to remedy this.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


Media
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.