PopMatters home | short takes home | archivesPopMatters Music Short Takes
Josh Todd, You Made Me (Todd Entertainment)
Josh Todd was Buckcherry's front man. Remember them? Well, if you do, he's back with a youthful bunch that basically pick up where he previously left off. "Mind Infection" resembles Chris Robinson fronting your standard barroom punk rock group, with the obligatory short screams from Todd. Big, meaty and not that bouncy, the record has a lot of hard rock riffs pouring out of it, but it's not the bore that is nu metal. The hook-riddled "Broken" tries to sound scary, yet it's as scary musically as Tommy Lee's Method Of Mayhem. Todd knows what makes rock radio drool and it seems he's hunting them down on sing-along arena rockers like "The Walls" and the required "woes is me" yelps on the "emo"core "Flowers & Cages". Josh Todd doesn't play it that safe, but it's extremely difficult to get him out of a radio-friendly rut. The color-by-numbers "Shine" has a lot in common with Collective Soul's grandiose guitars. Todd touches all the sources with the testosterone driven "Burn" and also "Blast", a tune straight from the back pocket of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. Possibly the album's watershed moment is "Circles", possessing the guitar brawn but a lot of Train-ish melody going in its favor. "Slave" sounds like an earlier track. It's not a terribly bad record if beer-swigging, radio-friendly perfected rock is your idea of a good time.
Evening Lights, Landscapes (Shelflife)
Fans of dreamy, indie jangle-pop will love the new CD-EP from San Francisco's Evening Lights. Featuring former members of such indie-pop luminaries as the Autocollants and In a Day, the band's five-track debut recalls the Sundays in the way lead singer Laura Watling's vocals effortlessly intertwine with traditional pop-rock structures. There's nothing innovative about tracks like "Telephones and Traffic Lights", but the insistent melody and interesting use of a xylophone make for an intriguing listen. "Phaedra" is soft, simplistic and hazy, while "In A Day" offers a more traditional sound, and the title track showcases Watling's heavenly vocals once more. A full album may have been too repetitive and derivative, but the EP format and one or two gems means Landscapes just about retains interest.