Listening to this album reminded me of the first few rounds of American Idol when the process of eliminating those whose voices were not quite right, soon took on some embarrassing moments for those aspiring but less than truly talented vocalists. And so it is with this offering. Musically, there are some pretty clever and original ideas with a strong emphasis on the arrangements. The incendiary dynamics between the guitars and keyboards is very impressive with influences being of a wide enough variety to eliminate any thoughts of plagiarism although Gentle Giant get a decent work out in the lyrics department on the opening song. Vocally, the album falls down, however as there are too many sections where Steve Rego fails to hit the higher registers and matters only get worse when his background female vocalist joins in the fray only to add to the disappointment. At times they both sing embarrassingly flat and out of key which is a pity as the members are certainly talented with their general song writing. At times I am reminded of a cross between David Surkamp and Tim Finn but unfortunately, I can't see this band ever reaching the levels of success as Pavlov's Dog or Crowded House did, unless they address this issue.
Lyrically, the band also sounds a bit primitive inasmuch that they adopt a rather naïve way of imparting their various messages. Try this,
"Don't fly to (sic) close to the sun,
you will crash and burn
Keep falling to the ground,
But we never learn"
Musically, I can't fault the album as they have done a creditable job in this area but their vocals do let them down too much not to have this issue marked down accordingly. My gut feeling tells me that there are three solutions to this dilemma; find a new vocalist, write songs that don't stretch the existing vocalists range beyond what is achievable or finally, if the song contains difficult sections that call upon the impossible, vocally, then substitute it with some inspirational instrumentation instead. Problem solved!
It would be a great shame if this band failed to allow themselves to develop and mature properly as I find their music incredibly innovative, dynamic and stimulating, but recognizing one's obvious vocal limitations would be the first major step in generating more kudos with a rather discriminating record buying public. Were this album to be judged on its music alone, I would have no hesitation in awarding a hearty recommendation of 4.5 stars, however, with the points mentioned earlier having such a deleterious effect on these ears, I have to dock a few points off accordingly.
1. Why Not?
2. Walk A Mile
3. A Day In Life
4. Shattered Glass
5. The Wheel