The Tide and The Undertow
(Opulent Records, 2005)
Rock and Roll music is an amazing animal because a man can sing anything and as long his group sounds urgent enough, I’ll be into it. You can sing about cling peaches, it’s ok; sound desperate and it’ll sound like quality. Extra Blue Kinda have almost figured this out. Not quite though. The opener from this rock triumvirate actually utilizes poignant drum rolls and droney keys to make me think that this slab has promise. The next track removed that hope and pretty much assured me that this would be an up and down affair. I was right. “Out of My Hands” punishes with a lame chorus but pleases with an incredibly beautiful lead guitar melody. It’s a trade off. The rest of the album shifts back and forth between bad rockers and Wilco sounding acoustic guitar rock. Really, this would have been a strong EP but, it’s an album and the extraneous filler is readily apparent. “Our Only Appeal”, probably the worst track track on here, has electronic sounding drums and an annoyingly jerky guitar line. Closing out the average affair is “Sugar”, which seems to have an eerily similar melody to the Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, except not as fast. Initially, I heard hints of the good rockin’ Beach Boy’s (not “Pet Sounds”, as that album is for people who want to be hip), and it’s there, but the Stones over ride it. Don’t buy this. You can go see ‘em play a show and it’d be more entertaining, but save your money for something that’s pleasurable the whole way through - like a beer.
(Record Label, 2005)
I guess this album is well produced, but that’s about all I can say about it. Ryan Rapsys I the man responsible for the music on this album and begins with an intriguing instrumental entitled “Zebras Cold Training”. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is a let down after this percussion-rich first track. The EP continues with “Some Want to Slowly Die” and Rapsys’ affected vocals. Sometimes distorted guitars just aren’t enough to make a track worthwhile and here’s your proof. Another instrumental, “Semi Alert”, follows, introduced by the noise that alien spacecrafts make when landing. Solid drumming and a somewhat belabored guitar concoction take up the rest of the track. Again, spaceship noises do not automatically make a track worthwhile. When reading the title of the next track, “More to Your Liking”, it seemed the Rapsys had anticipated my disappointment with his schlock and had created something that I would enjoy. I was wrong. A silly key line, overly simplistic drumming and Rapsys’ affected voice just don’t get it done. The last track begins and I think that it’s somehow a new Strokes single. Then I realized that even if it was a new single by the we-work-hard-to-be-cool-band, that it would be as vacuous as the rest of this album. I always believed that the point of music that skirts the mainstream is to be different and not necessarily easily digestible by the general populace of dullards and cranks. Unfortunately this is lost on the great hope of Chicago music, Euphone. You know what? If you’re in town and Euphone is playing, find out where The Drastics are jamming, unless you’re looking forward to falling asleep on a bar stool.