Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 8)

Written by on August 26, 2010 in August 26, 2010, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2010 – vol# 8)

Summer’s nearing an end and Basspro is gearing up for hunting season.  Be wery, wery qwuiet, I’m huntin’ wrabbit.

Brijitte West and the Desperate Hopefuls

“self titled”

Style (Pop Punk)

I don’t doubt there’s some teenager girl out there that’ll dig this but I just can’t get excited about this bubble gum punk pop CD from a self-proclaimed 90’s punk queen deficient of artistic substance.  The most glaring put-off is the basic and bland high school teenage girl poetry song writing.  Lyrics this lame would be acceptable if coming from a teenager in high school whose hormones are out of alignment.  West however, is far from being a teenager so maybe it’s time to upgrade from the Hot Topic bylines to something a bit more substantial.  If the lyrical drivel isn’t horrific enough then there’s the depreciating vocal range somewhere between wistfully flat and in need of a life line flat.  Granted, punk rock has never been known for producing multi-octave vocalists with dynamic range.  But what I like about punk vocals is how they’re belted out with intense conviction.  Not the case with West who meanders vocally into the slow lane with a wobbly axle and stays there desperate to keep the donut wheel on.  The back-up players, the “Desperate Hopefuls,” are the one glimmer of hope as they encouragingly attempt to put some zest into these ten songs.  But like an athlete making the most of the last year on a contract putting in better than expected performance to generate future interest I foresee the same for these guys.  Playing through this CD I doubt there will be an announcement from VH1 for the Behind The Music reboot documentary.

Rating 1 (might be time to retire the messed up black eyeliner look)

Kevin Beadles

“You Can’t Argue With Water”

Style (Singer Songwriter)

I admire the passion, hard work, courage and self reliance put forth by singer songwriters but there’s a very fine line between successfully bringing the songs to life on stage and putting out a recording that does more harm than good.  I’ve never seen Beadles perform live so I hope he knocks em’ dead on stage because sadly this recording fits the “more harm than good” category.  The musicianship and energy Beadles puts forth within this 11 song CD is about as enjoyable as being stuck on a sailboat going through the Doldrums.  Granted, the singer songwriter style is generally mellow but there has to be a certain amount of expressiveness and resolute energy to motive a listener to have this playing at home or in the car.  Unfortunately Beadles’ songs and his lyrics aren’t motivating enough to get it done and I’d only put this on at home if I wanted to annoy the kids.  The upside, I feel track 5 “Sharkskin” is the best song on the disk.  Conversely, track 10 “A Love Sublime,” though not the last song on the CD, is by far a horrible song to have near the end of the CD.

Rating 1 ½ (it’s not how you start but how you finish)

2 Cents

“Dressed to Kill”

Style (Rock / Metal / Hardcore)

The title track is the most prominent and commercial of the 13 songs on this disk, but what I like most about all these songs is how consistently each is written and performed with vibrant energy from start to finish with some good head banging sections.  The musicianship comes across with brash intent with none of the four working parts lagging behind to be carried by another.  The vocals are belted out with confident aggression and attitude, with some nicely placed melodies and scruffy yells.  The six string rhythms are tight and tough, and fit well with the thundering drum beats.  Playing through the disk a few times I’m inclined to believe these songs will really come to life on stage.

Rating 3 ½ (I really like the energy)

The Well Wishers

“Post Modern Romantic”

Style (Indie / Pop)

Summer campy and fun, California surf punk, is how I’d describe this CD.  The songs have an amusing, upbeat tempo that may find itself fitting in with the late teens, early 20’s demographic who are interested in something off mainstream far left of the crappy pop stuff being pushed on the dial.  Commercially, I’m not hearing any one tune that’ll catch fire, but given the right beach or backyard BBQ the songs have some potential to generate an interesting dance in the sand vibe.  Though this is far from a Beach Boys Southern California kickback and relax sound, I do enjoy the mid-high vocal range, harmonies, consistently energetic rhythms and infectious drum beats.

Rating 2 ½ (I like it more than I expected)


“The Minerva Suite”

Style (Indie Rock)

I really don’t understand the reason behind the writing of such mundane BS or the direction of such a pathetically androgynous and lifeless musical style.  Having now spent the time listening to these thirteen enormously unrealized unemotional musical duds I’m guessing the point is to bore the hell out of me because that’s exactly what they’re doing.  Sitting under the baking sun of Death Valley watching the rocks move is more exciting than listening to this distressingly hollow farce.  At first listen I thought maybe these songs were geared towards the Gossip Girl / Big Time Rush crowd but as much as I dislike that type of music I wouldn’t push this ridiculously senseless drivel on them.  The only bright spot is the band name, which I like, but not what I expected from a band from Birmingham, England.

Rating ½ (only because I dig the name)