Title Of Record
The latest CD by Filter is one of vision and extraordinary talent. I've personally not found many bands in the recent past that have been as emotionally charged as Filter -- they have an undeniable way of making fun of themselves while drawing the listener right in and taking them under their black and amorphous wings.
Title Of Record proves to be a very (please forgive the term) "Y2K" set of work. This release is just as innovative and real as earlier works like Short Bus and their stand out contribution to the Spawn soundtrack, but it has a new grittiness to some of the songs that offsets the softer tracks and keeps us soldiers of the millennium in line.
When I had my first taste of the CD, I was on a dirty city bus, on my way to work at the grey hour of 7 a.m. in Los Angeles. The bus route goes through some of the filthiest parts of Silverlake and the ass end of Chinatown before it dumps you off downtown. In my usual anti-social way, I wore my sunglasses and my Walkman and stared out the grimy windows and watched image after image go by as the song "Cancer" unfolded in my head. By the time I had reached my stop, I was angrier than I could have ever imagined. I had the sickest feeling in my stomach and all I could feel was the bile of hatred for humanity in the back of my throat. "This," I said to myself, "is one Hell of a CD."
The single, "Welcome to the Fold," is one of the slightly heavier tracks on this release and was chosen, surprisingly, as the first single. I think it's probably because the chorus is pretty cool to sing along with and the easy-to-swallow rhythm isn't too "hardcore" for the masses. I've got a sneaking suspicion, though, that when this one is played live, along with the sweeter ones like "It's Gonna Kill Me" and "Take a Picture," the Filter guys are going to throw down with a vengeance and blow everyone's mind.
Title Of Record is full of references to the inevitably doomed affair between singer Richard Patrick and the elusive married woman he was enamored with for far too long. It's full of ways to drown your sorrows and other ways to nurture them. It pumps up the little guy, then lets him fall while others point at him and laugh. It is a gallery of art that shows the listener mental images while they listen. Geno Lenardo (guitar) and Frank Cavanaugh (bass) showcase their respective talents in the front room, and newly enlisted drummer Steve Gillis keeps you wandering into the rear halls, while Richard greets victim after victim at the door with a docile grin and mischievous eyes. There is no shortage of color or passion or texture to be found.
If you're looking for a repeat of Short Bus, you won't find it here. What you will find, however, is unadulterated, refined, pure Filter. If that disappoints you, which, I promise you, it will not, then perhaps you'll find solace in the new Christina Aguillera CD. (LP)
The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx
Sweet Jesus. Fishbone's new album (on new label, Hollywood) is downright amazing. They have managed to reinvent themselves, rise "like a phoenix from the ashes," and put out what is one of their best albums, and that's saying a lot. The neat thing about this disc in particular is that in addition to the new musicians that make up half of the band (damn good musicians, by the way), each track features special guests such as Perry Farrell, Gwen Stefani, John, Chad and Flea from the Red Hots, Donny Osmond, some Nevilles, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs...the list itself is impressive, the music even more so. Most of it is old-school ska, funk and rock; there's little of the punk side and zero of the metal side of Fishbone, but that's okay (and, after seeing them live recently, I know that they have NOT eschewed any of that stuff, it just didn't make it onto this particular album). It's still badass, and hopefully things won't go sour with Hollywood Records the way they did with Columbia, because with the right kind of support Fishbone could become as huge as they have deserved to be for almost twenty years. (MHo)