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The Invisible

The Invisible

(Pyramid; US: 25 Oct 2005)

Don’t you just love those stickers on the front of your favorite CD at the record store?  You know, the one that let you know that this album features “Their #1 Platinum Hit: (fill in the blank)!”  Or how about that one that says “If you like Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights, and Armor For Sleep, Meet Your New Favorite Band: (fill in the blank)!”  I still await the day for when I find one that successfully ties in my tastes for 50 Cent, Shania Twain, and Aphex Twin all in one.

The sticker on the debut self-titled album for The Invisible lets us know this includes the hit online single “Fighting With Myself”.  Newsday proclaims them to be “a refreshing blend of indie rock” while the Billboard blurb notes that this is “one of the top indie bands around”.  To tug at your heart strings a bit more, the liner notes inside tell us how this is a group of friends who have been wanting to make music since the age of 12.  As for their name, they simply proclaim that “the name simply represents ‘The Music’.  No stereotypes, just ‘The Music’”.

Too bad they stink.

No, this is not a mean statement—it’s a true one.  First of all, there is absolutely nothing indie about this band, aside from the fact that they’re not exactly playing on your Top 40 radio station.  This is a band that is nothing more than a pop-rock outfit, and a profoundly generic one at that.  Sure, they do the occasional group vocal, and the album is competently produced.  Yet, if you’re looking for group harmonics and solid pop hooks, long-forgotten popsters Taxiride have them beat in spades.

The Invisible is actually a lot like Ozma, a band that doesn’t just sound like Weezer, but actually embodies that band.  Here, instead of the bespeckled emo-rockers, the Invisible desperately wants to be Collective Soul.  They have all the basic elements in place (especially structure-wise), but they perpetually don’t click.  The closest them come is on “She’s Back Again”, featuring a propulsive rock guitar, but not much else.  The band certainly is capable of crafting hooks, but the problem is that none of the hooks in question are actually catchy—they would all be terrible fishermen.

A large part of the problem is the unnecessary dressing that gets furnished on every track.  Closer “Never Gonna Let You Go” has enough “wah-wah” guitars to make you think the “Shaft” theme is going to appear at any moment, but instead we get clichéd lyrical pap and dull group harmonics.  The wannabe power-ballad “Fighting With Myself” has cringe-worthy high-school poetry lyrics, chasing after broken dreams and their “Popular Lyrics of the ‘80s” book so they can swipe more pages from it.  The very ‘80s sounding “Tell Me”, coincidentally, has one of the more tolerable melodies, despite the fact that the verses are over-worded and has that breathy dramatic speak-sing repeat of the of the title words that is far more annoying then enduring.  Clichéd lyrics would be fine if there was some sincerity behind the voice, but not an ounce of it found its way onto this coaster—I mean, disc.

“Now or Never” elevates above this sea of generalities ever so slightly, but you’re not going to buy a pop-rock album for one song, will you?  You’d have better luck with any Blessed Union of Souls disc.  It is tempting to say that this is a band that is “just starting out” and “will find their own place in time”, but it’s hard to say that when there isn’t a single original moment on this entire disc.  As terrible as it is to say, you almost wish that the band would live up to its name and just disappear.


Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and many more. Evan has been a guest on HuffPost Live, RevotTV's "Revolt Live!", and WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.

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