When Puddle Of Mudd released their major label debut of Come Clean it was hard to ignore this Kansas City band because the level of radio airtime they received was a constant thing. Fortunately for the music buying public of the time a lot of this attention was based on the quality of their material and while the band was considered a "Post-Grunge" outfit they managed to win over Rock fans of many different genre associations. It was interesting to find a band with this vibe going over so well based on the genre itself moving away from the dominant side but it was good to see that they served as a reminder as to what made some of those bands special in the first place. You couldn't turn on a Rock radio station and miss at least one of their singles on any given day at any given hour of airtime and then there was the fact that MTV and their programming still had large focus on bands as opposed to their now reality program driven angle. Songs like 'Control", "Blurry", and "She Hates Me" were not only standards for their rotation but also songs that ended up being mimicked by local area bands ad-nauseum. They would follow this with Life On Display, and album that while generating two hit singles was something that I would bypass entirely based on the over saturation I felt from the bands debut. The sophomore release also found them losing two members to other bands and the inevitable creative differences.
This all leads us to Famous, the bands third major label release and probably the best material that they have done since their well-received debut. As I spun this one around I felt a sense of Rock and Roll hunger once again coming from the band and most of the tracks had a very "radio friendly" feel to them, or where at least songs that the listener could find themselves humming after only a couple of listens. It opens with the title track which serves up a little bit of a Nirvana feel in terms of the vocal phrasing. While we saw this happen with several bands that followed the Grunge years I am happy to report that singer Wes Scantlin does it very well and does not come off as trying to copy the legendary Cobain note for note. There are definitely some tear-jerker love related tunes like "We Don't Have To Look Back Now" and the solid "Thinking About You" which I think is a song that any one of us could have related to at least once in their life. Rockers abound in songs like "Merry Go Round" and "I'm So Sure" and I am quite sure that in the live sense these would be among the best in their set. As the album drew close to completing I found my favorite tune of the bunch with "Radiate" as it appealed to me not only in musicality but in its lyrical content. The band is now comprised of Scantlin and Douglas Ardito (bass) and new members Christian Stone (guitars) and Ryan Yerdon (drums). For a group that is essentially half new and half established in its roster they managed to bring to the table an enjoyable album that I think will be hard to top the next time around. This should be looked into by fans of bands such as Nickelback and Saliva but please don't take that as a direct comparison. Considering how lame the area of Rock has gotten over the last couple of years in terms of new bands I was happy to find this POM returning with such a strong release.
2. Livin' On Borrowed Time
3. It Was Faith
5. We Don't Have To Look Back Now
7. Thinking About You
8. Merry Go-Round
9. I'm So Sure
11. If I Could Love You