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Music Reviews

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 22, 2004
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Sounds Like: R&B under free verse
See Also: Digable Planets, Alicia Keyes, India.Arie

Floacism "Live"

After rocking to the first song featuring Mos Def, I began scratching the back of my neck and muttering, "I don't know, man. I don't know." But after multiple replays of Floacism, I came to appreciate the melodic poetry of the London-based duo.

Natalie Stewart's spoken word delivery is captivating, and Marsha Ambrosius' unfailing voice is probably the strongest aspect of the album.

Although Floetry delivers in concert, Floacism lacks that studio quality, so those purchasing Floacism will have to enjoy it for the energy and spontaneity that these ladies possess. The R&B music backdrop overlaid with spoken word and soulful singing echo other R&B songs without the "pop-ish" lyrics.

- Nathan Tafoya


The Pale
Sounds Like: My sister's diary put to music
See Also: Sunny Day Real Estate, Something Corporate, Jimmy Eat World

Gravity Gets Things Done

This album is so damn emo it hurts.

The vocals give this band away on the first track: whiney, flat and boring. The lyrics are so lame I thought they might be about Jesus. Instead, lead singer Gabe Archer bitches on "Reasons to try": "Life is unfair I cry, and I complain 'cause I'm so mad."

The songs are also equipped with false stops for sentimental vocal ejaculations. The one highlight of the album is the organ-work intro on "The Crash," which has a gentle haunting sound. The organ also provides a little bit of texture to a lot of otherwise bland tracks, which are otherwise ruined by Archer's voice. At least they got the name of the band right. This is the deadest, whitest, brokest shit to ever come out of Washington state.

- Gabe Joselow



Sounds Like: Singer-songwriter, indie pop rock

See Also: Pedro the Lion, The Flaming Lips, The Long Winters

The Cellar Door

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think John Vanderslice is breaking any new ground.

The Cellar Door, his fourth full length, starts promisingly with "Pale Horse," a throbbing track with pounding verses that demand attention. But after that, Vanderslice pretty much mellows out for a few songs, churning out uninspiring indie rock. Around track nine, "Coming and Going on Easy Terms," things get more interesting, but by then, I've already skipped back to the first song so many times that everything else sounds mediocre.

Singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen, and Vanderslice only gives me one reason to call him a cut above. In these days of file-swapping and MP3s, it takes more than one great song to sell an album.

- Nate Buchik


The Bens

Sounds Like: Alternative rock with harmony

See Also: Guster, the Strokes, guys named Ben

The Bens

Three Ben's joined forces to become The Bens, creating a sound with mellow harmonies and counter-melodies pleasing to the ear and admittedly addictive, but nevertheless unoriginal in its palpable reminiscence.

Ben Folds, Ben Lee and Ben Kweller collaborated on the self-titled four-track debut EP. The album opens with "Just Pretend," a fun tune that flaunts Ben Folds' always appropriate piano licks. But the CD gets slightly whinier, and the trio's short jams on lyrical breaks seem empty and dispensable.

The Bens doesn't break any ground musically speaking, but its pleasantly predictable lines make for a good comfort album.

- Orli Ben-Dor



Sounds Like: Pop-punk so bad it would make an executioner weep.

See Also: Good Charlotte, A Simple Plan


Mest's CD claims to contain "bonus multimedia content," including footage on the making of the album. For future copies of the album, I suggest the band include CD-burning software and print its music on CD-RW disks. Otherwise, I can't really think of a use for this album.

While reviewing the album, I tried to put myself in the mindset of someone who might like this kind of music. After all, I like that Simple Plan song "Addicted." And I like that Good Charlotte video, because I think it's important that musicians tell us about important issues like suicide. Even in this mindset, I couldn't find anything redeeming in these 13 uninspired songs. I even tried putting on a black hoodie. Nothing.

- Jessica Suarez

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