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News from our arhive: Releases: The Mars Volta, Kathleen Edwards, Judas Priest, Jack Johnson
BUNKY Born To Be A Motorcycle Considered San Diego's premier live band, Bunky are Emily Joyce and Rafter Roberts ó and 10 assorted musicians pinched from other local groups. Could Bunky et al be Americaís Broken Social Scene? Their debut album is a heady mix of trumpets, wailing guitars, organs and the vibrafon coated with a liberal dose of strong vocals from Joyce (she alternates between candy sweet and sexy snarl). Roberts also sings on several tracks, adding a deeply reassuring gruffness. Part Le Tigre and Kate Bush, a bit funky, a bit punky, a little introspective ó and a whack of fun lyrics ó Bunky's first go at commercial success is a good one.
JACK JOHNSON In Between Dreams Jack Johnson started out as a surfer who made surfing films and happened to play guitar on the side. Now, his music has launched a multi-million dollar mini-industry. With In Between Dreams, the assembly line continues to run on fumes, churning out homogenous pastiches like "Good People" and the infuriatingly cute "Banana Pancakes." A proprietor of sun-bathed folk, Johnsonís lyrical styling bridges the all-important musical gap between white, So-Cal rap and scat. Devoid of soul even when he tries to imbue his songs with meaning, this album is perfectly suited for those long nights by the campfire when nothing seems to matter, least of all, good music.
THE MARS VOLTA Frances The Mute James Joyce took 11 years to write Finnegan's Wake, so at least we know he spent some time crafting such an impenetrable monster. The Mars Volta only took two years to record their beast, Frances The Mute, but all this uncontrolled, unfiltered wankery wonít get this disc a mandatory spot in the high school curriculum. There's certainly some impressive musicianship going on in these five songs (or 15 songlets, movements, passages, whatever the hell you want to call them), but just try not to get a headache two minutes into lead track "Cygnus." The MV's first full-length still retained some semblance of mysterious but awesome ambition; its follow-up is unmitigated crap.
JUDAS PRIEST Angel Of Retribution This might be stating the obvious, but no Judas Priest effort will ever top the insanity, fury and rage of Painkiller and any Priest release with Halford back is going to be miles above the bandís "Ripper" Owens years. Angel Of Retribution sits happily and inoffensively in the middle of these parameters. Mid-tempo rock tracks that tap mild metallic tendencies and clinical guitar tones are interspersed amongst amusing but forgettable "Turbo Lover"-ish ballads making this a stable release for any band of Priestís age. Unfortunately, the overall lack of fire makes Angel Of Retribution feel more like a bitter old man than a bloodthirsty savage.