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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Abandoned Pools
Humanistic
Extasy Records

Rating: 7.6/10 ?


September 13, 2001
There is one thing to be said for record labels with a lot of money, and that is that they love flooding an album with production tricks. And if there is one thing to be said for the production of an album it is that, when done right, it can make a huge difference. If this album had been recorded, produced and released on a small indie label with a small indie budget, it probably would have come off sounding like a 1980s infected version of AM/FM. Instead, with the enlistment of the production services of a pair of aces who have worked with the likes of Hole and Radiohead, Tommy Walter's debut as Abandoned Pools comes across sounding like something Ken Andrews and Billy Corgan might have cooked up while driving cross-country in an 86 Toyota Camry.

The glazed production adds punches, such as the chorus of "Monster", which would likely go unrealized in a Pro-Tools basement environment. The Nada Surf-ish lyrics of songs like "Suburban Muse" (hey man, I wasn't the star jock either, but I didn't grow up in Westlake Village, either) are made easy to swallow by sweet vocals, and the pop sheen of the bulk of tracks is spiced up with the use of various electronic, string and horn instruments throughout. Walter, who up to now has been best known for his work in Eels, has concocted a radio-ready hit box of melodic pop and hard edged alternative power ballads tinged with the occasional neo-metal Smashing Pumpkins rocker like "LVBD" and the industrial tinge of "Seed" (every time I listen to the buzz saw guitar I think I'm hearing a lost cut from Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness). Even the most trivial of tracks, such as the porch swing acoustic balladry of "Never" could probably blow a hole in the competition on a soundtrack to an episode of Felicity.

In the current climate of rock and roll, I'd feel pretty good about backing Humanistic in a commercial push. Every track on here is better than the singles off of Weezer's green album, and as far as I can tell the post-grunge void left between Beck and the Smashing Pumpkins is still waiting to be filled.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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