Music

Down to Earth Approach: Another Intervention

Kevin Jagernauth

Down to Earth Approach

Another Intervention

Label: Vagrant
US Release Date: 2004-08-03
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Being sensitive, male and in a rock band has become very en vogue. Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, the Postal Service, and Modest Mouse have all enjoyed recent chart and critical success. Their names are being dropped in magazines from coast to coast and there are more like-minded acts returning to the scene. Maritime (made up of members of ex-emo cheerleaders the Promise Ring and D.C. punk act the Dismemberment Plan) have been busy on the road promoting their latest slice of mellow pop and Jimmy Eat World will finally return to the airwaves this fall with the release of their second major-label album, Futures.

Down to Earth Approach, with their debut full length Another Intervention, are offering up another slab of sensitive boy rock, ready for the airwaves and the hearts of young listeners across America. With the indie-rock equivalent of a rags-to-riches story behind them, there is no question Down to Earth Approach are ready for press. Originally hailing from Batavia, New York, the group relocated to California to pursue their musical career. Singer/guitarist Jonathan Lullo hooked up a dream job with Vagrant, who just happened to be releasing some of the records that had been inspiring him by groups such as the Get Up Kids and Saves the Day. Lullo and his bandmates continued to write and play shows, but surprisingly didn't approach the very label Lullo was working for. The group started creating a buzz, capturing the attention of Lullo's Vagrant co-workers, leading to a contract with one of genres biggest labels.

The band hit the studio, and with producer Dave Schiffman (Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down, Rage Against The Machine, Mars Volta, Juliana Theory) put eleven songs to tape that would comprise their debut. Unfortunately, Schiffman, with his clean production, can't bring enough polish to distract the listener from the fact that ultimately these songs are strikingly similar, and numbingly dull. Lullo's slightly nasal, somewhat fey vocals are effective but hardly compelling. The musicianship is strong, but rarely intriguing and one can't listen to Another Intervention without the feeling that they've been down this road one too many times before. Down to Earth Approach have made a fine emo record that perhaps would've been worthy of more praise five or six years ago. As such, the album feels like nothing more than retread of the territory adequately covered by their influences.

The problem with the Down to Earth Approach is that there is nothing here to separate them from the already crowded pack. Nothing on Another Intervention goes beyond being anything but efficient. The hooks are there, the soaring vocals, the clockwork percussion and a steady bass, but the songwriting never rises above being perfunctory. While the band name might accurately describe their aesthetic, it is one that is a tactic that has produced lackluster results. Down to Earth Approach will no doubt gather a following -- fans of this sort of music will eat this up -- but the band lacks the panache to break through to the mainstream.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image