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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
27 June 2005
Lux Courageous, Reasons That Keep the Ground Near (Triple Crown) Rating: 8
The piano touches bring Something Corporate to mind, but there is more at work here during the band's opener "Concrete (Broadway)" which builds melodically into something far grander. It isn't emo by any stretch, as the roots-y foundation would be almost forbidden in that realm. Bands like Hot Hot Heat come to mind during the pleasing "Wearing Dangerous" and the fine "Safe At Last" thanks to the chops of Adam LoPorto and PJ Tepe. And unlike so many contemporaries, nothing is overproduced into blandness, capturing the feel of each track as if they were on stage in front of you. Lighter spots include the dreamy "Ambulance" but the jewel has to be the up-tempo "Everything You Wanted" which is basically everything you'd want in a great tune. "Hey... It Just Feels Better" is also another sleeper pick. This album keeps you in a good mood with humming, humming and more humming, although the jerky "This Town" reeks of filler. But the contagious and bouncy "Barely Enough" is more than enough. Great, quality-teeming rock with the odd summer driving tune sprinkled around.
Roy Jones, Jr., Body Head Bangerz Volume One (Universal) Rating: 6
There's nothing like listening to a punch-drunk boxer, known for having a big mouth and the boxing skills to back it up, dish out some jabs of the lyrical variety. Especially when his name is Roy Jones Jr. and he's not bad enough that you'd slam your headphones down in disgust. Body Head Bangerz Volume One is a hype-filled crunk fest, littered with well-known durrty south emcees Juvenile, Petey Pablo, and Lil' Flip. But remarkably, Jones' gruff delivery holds his own as evident on album opener "Can't Be Touched". Courtesy of Timothy "Fingerz" Spencer, the production is all sinister synth lines and calculated drum beats. It has the texture of the trash-talking banter boxers engage in when they're on the ropes ("Don't Start It"). This album has more energy than 10 servings of Crunk Juice and no nasty aftertaste. A flurry of punchy singles is what Jones delivers and in the end, it's more than enough to knock your ass out.
The Explosion, Black Tape (Virgin) Rating: 4
Listening to anything "punk" nowadays can trigger one distasteful reaction after another. It starts with both eyes rolling into the back of ones skull, a tightening of the esophagus, and is followed by either excessive dry mouth, headache, or the unleashing of some repressed anger. You may develop some if not all of these symptoms when listening to The Explosion's Black Tape, a 13-song assault on the senses that included lots and lots of empty slogans and sub-par lyrics ("There's no revolution anymore!" Etc. etc.), and a musicality found on punk records I'm either too stupid to remember or smart enough to forget. Making their major label debut, this Boston-area band is quite capable of producing some catchy punk: "Deliver Us," "Here I Am," and "Atrocity" are testaments to that. "Mothers Cry" even seems ready-made to lodge these punksters somewhere on MTV2. But the rest just rings hollow, especially "Heavyweight," which actually sounds like Ugly Kid Joe! In short, The Explosion is another punk band lacking any distinct persona, more banality than personality.
.: posted by Editor 7:31 AM