You know you're on to something when you pop a CD by a band you've
never heard of into your car stereo 30 seconds before you're supposed
to park and get out, only to find yourself just sitting there
for the next 10 minutes, reading and rereading the song titles
as you feel that happy little thrill of discovery inside you.
That was not the case with Roma 79. Just kidding; you bet
it was! The Great Dying is the San Francisco-based trio's
first full-length album, so it's no big surprise I had not heard
of them yet (despite their having recorded the soundtrack to the
Comedy Central movie Porn and Chicken; presumably a documentary
about the finer things in life). I don't expect that relative
anonymity to last - this is some seriously user-friendly music.
It all kicks off in style with "Heads Down," which
is full of jangly guitar and slightly earnest vocals (no, I mean
that in a good way!). It's also the first of several songs during
which I think that lead singer (and solid bassist/keyboard player)
Jeremy Patfield has more than a hint of Ben Folds
to his voice. His voice is appealing, and he's not too shy to
throw in the occasional falsetto. I find that a well-timed falsetto
can be all it takes to catapult a song into platinum territory
(see, e.g., Chris Martin), so this can only be good for
the band. I can't wait to hear "Disposed To Violate"
live; it's a solid rocker that makes me twitch. "Kill The
Sun" is my favorite song on the album, which with its pleasingly
heavy drums, propelling guitar and Patfield's voice as versatile
as another instrument, comes off with a sort of early Foo Fighters
sound. I'll admit to playing it three times in a row, I liked
it so much. I could go on and on about how I like each song on
the album for different reasons, but the bottom line is that almost
every song succeeds because these three guys with real talent
just click together. Aaron Bonsall's drum chops are evident
as he mixes it up even within songs, showing a noticeable versatility
that just isn't there for every band, and Andrew Skikne
provides the glue with his own adaptable style of guitar, chockablock
with nifty hooks.
As an indie release, The Great Dying actually has a fairly
mainstream sound. If that sounds like a negative to you, it isn't
meant to be. It's just easy to listen to, with a little something
for everyone. If you're looking for something new to flesh out
your CD collection, you won't go wrong here.
- Heidi Lamer
1. Heads Down
2. Disposed to Violate
3. Kill The Sun
6. Angel Message
7. The Spin
9. The Great Dying
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