PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


David Garza: Overdub

Kevin Mathews

David Garza


Label: Atlantic
US Release Date: 2001-06-26

There is something strangely disconcerting about witnessing the monkey's wedding of modern rock's incestuous breeding. The last couple of years have thrown out several "new" popular rock hybrids, be they ska-punk, rap-metal or techno R&B. These "sub-genres" throw themselves down at the feet of the ugliest, lowest-denominator, crass Golden Calf in abject genuflection and sacrifice all pretense to artistry and craft for quick fix fame and fortune.

Whilst I am all for the genuine cross-pollination of styles and approaches in order to keep pop music fresh and refreshing, I simply will not tolerate combining the worst excesses of over-rated musical forms to give life to an even worse progeny. This practice reeks of shameless opportunism and must be called out whenever and wherever it surfaces.

Now, David Garza has built up a reputation for pop-savvy songwriting and a technically perfect rock sound. His debut album -- This Euphoria has been lauded for memorable and infectious songs and top-notch melodies, lyrics, arrangements, instrumentation, production and vocals. The low-profile acoustic follow-up Kingdom Come and Go has been praised for its experimentation and ambition.

Overdub finds Garza swotting up on "Modern Rock 101" and succumbing to the lure of the almighty techno beat whilst maintaining the frat-boy appeal of Led Zeppellin-esque hard rock hi-jinks. Strange as this might sound, Overdub may just be the definitive corporate rock album for the post-millennium set. Which, if any of you are wondering, is not really a good thing. Please let me elaborate.

It's simple enough to figure out that anything with crunching power chords (and necessitating mindless air-guitar wheeling) is going to do the business amongst the Limp Bizkit-Korn-Linkin Park fanbase, but to meld that aesthetic with the artificial monotonous throb of robotic drum machines so familiar to the teenybopper crowd is perhaps a masterstroke of marketing and demographic positioning.

Not only that, but Garza has assimilated well that potent weapon called irony. The opening "Drone" even slaps you in the face with "used to harmonize with stereo now it's just drone". The messy buzz soon gives way to the folky funk of "Say Baby" as Garza angrily remarks "soul is a four-letter word". Garza's lyrical sins come to a head in "God's Hands" -- "I waited for the gospel but the gospel never came / Prophets and the pimps working for the man / Blessed are the fools blessed are the fiends" -- where Garza finds that organised religion is an easy target indeed as he mock-sacrilegiously sneers, "Praise the Lord and shake your ass". Ugly ugly ugly!

"Soul Custody" and "Bloodsuckers" are agonizing exercises in Garza's replication of the U2-Jeff Buckley atmospheric balladry but executed with the subtlety of a buzzsaw. These are minor aberrations compared to Garza's idea of a glam rockout as epitomised by the dismal "Blow My Mind" and "Crown of Thorns". Uncool Prince Xeroxes abound with "Too Much" and "Say Baby". Garza understands the value of referencing the right people. That said, "Let Me" and "Alone" have the melodic potential to escape Garza's leaden touch but, alas, fail miserably.

Ultimately, Garza would be better off remembering that following one's muse is more important than calculated music making. This writer's chagrin lies in understanding that Garza possesses the ability to rise above these purely cynical concerns, instead of leaving us with just "drone".

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.


Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.


'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.


ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.


The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.


Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.