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PopMatters Music Short Takes
our brief reviews of new releases
29 March 2006
Burns Out Bright, Save Yourself a Lifetime (Deep Elm) Rating: 7
Burns Out Bright are a moody lot, but one that can deliver the goods time after time, finding their way through the opening song "The World Is Going to Hell..." with some rich melodies before boring headlong into emo-ville with some curves thrown in for good measure. And the song titles would give Panic! At The Disco a run for their wordiness. Crafting each number as if it's a pop/rock/punk/emo journey, Burns Out Bright hit more often than miss with angular tunes like "Optimistic Nihilistic" although lines like "Punk rock is dead in the trunk and you're asleep at the wheel" sound cliché even by today's standards. The band attempts to distance itself from the current emo punk glut, and is often successful with well-crafted nuggets like "Replication Is the Highest Form of Replication" that breaks out into a lovely high energy rocker before fading out some six minutes later. Another highlight is the fully-developed, majestic and infectious romp called, er, "The Michael Keaton Backslash". The band's biggest asset is culling various ideas and making it sound cohesive as they do with "Sincerely I". But "I Just Want You to Know I Hate Each of You for Completely Different Reasons" mopes along without any real bite or verve. However, they bite off more than they can chew with the gear-shifting yet tired "Nothing Keeps the Werewolf Away Like a Silver Bullet".
"Sincerely I": [MP3]
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Busta Rhymes, "Touch It Remixes" [12-inch single] (Interscope) Rating: 7
The anticipation for Busta Rhymes' seventh (!) LP The Big Bang is... well, there is anticipation and that's more than can be said for his recent solo output. Fortunately, from the sound of the advance singles/leaks, the hype may be justified. "Touch It" succeeds where most of the emcee's past tracks failed: it matches his frenetic energy with just the right amount of "Woo Hah!" and "Put Your Hands." Ruff Ryder backbone Swizz Beatz comes out of his beat coma to combine a cold, screwed-down Daft Punk sample with explosive drums -- a clever jab to set-up Busta's hook. In truth, the remixes here are strictly mixtape heat -- the Ladies First cut (Missy Elliott, Rah Digga and even Mary J. Blige drop 16s), the
Studio Gangster New York Thug cut (sleepy-eyed Lloyd Banks and the still-waiting-to-pop Papoose), and, um, DMX -- though these mixes will likely be most remembered for the tragic video. Beats are essentially the same on each mix; Busta drops new verses each time (kudos); clean and dirty mixes of each version.
multiple songs: [MySpace]
Hey! Brontosaurus, Hey! Brontosaurus (Fortune) Rating: 4
"Hey mighty brontosaurus / don't you have a lesson for us?" sang Sting in the classic Police song "Walking in Your Footsteps". Sadly, bay area upstarts Hey! Brontosaurus aren't all that mighty and don't have much of a lesson. Very much recalling early Wilco with a bit of a jam-band instrumental bent to it, the band tries to find its identity in their idols only to find themselves wading in a hazy generic mush. Instrumental "Ode to Me" with its acoustic licks and Wurlizter backing, is pleasant enough for an instrumental, but even at two minutes you feel your patience being stretched a bit. You should listen to muzak in an elevator: not on the album you just bought. The band even manages to call itself out on "Into Your Own" with the striking line "The fight for who you are will be your biggest battle". Despite the fact that Galactic and Handsome Boy Modeling School sometimes-keyboardist Jim Greer produced the album, none of the excitement of said bands finds its way through. The instrumentals are pleasant but bland, and the rock songs are generally meandering, sometimes fitting in awkward lines like "play the chord structure of your sorrow". What? Fortunately the full-on Wilco embodiment song "Talk of the Town" proves to be a memorable highlight, and this reviewer finds it somewhat coincidental that the song no doubt named after him ("Evan") proves to have the strongest rock melody on the album. It's too early in the game to count them out, but if the Brontosaurus wants to survive, they're going to have to learn to evolve.
"Build It Down": [MP3]
"The People": [MP3]
.: posted by Editor 8:15 AM