- Chasing the Mad Rabbit
used to be that rock and pop on independent labels was less
over-produced than on major labels and tended to embrace the
do-it-yourself garage band aesthetic. But that style began
to appear on major labels in the past decade, so now we get
bands like Bliss who are "alternative" by actually being accomplished
musicians and owing more of their sound to Journey than to
the Sex Pistols.
the potential to be interesting, but Bliss don't muster up
enough genuine energy to pull it off. For one thing, vocalist
Matt Well (if he were given the nickname "come" he would be
"welcome mat" backwards!) has an identity crisis, masquerading
alternately as Steve Perry, Eddie Vedder and Ozzy Osbourne
whenever appropriate. One could argue that he is versatile,
but in reality he just sounds confused. Perhaps he could focus
a bit better were he given better material to sing. You try
to get excited about songs whose climaxes are "I nearly died,"
"I'm sick, sick of you," "it's just another day of sorrow"
and "Don't put that bullet in your head." Not to mention yet
another freedom of speech anthem, elegantly titled "Little
Bitches." What decade is this?
is essentially the brainchild of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
Michael Trapp, and we shouldn't let him off easy. He does
do everything on this album but sing, which is impressive,
and he can certainly write a decent rock hook, which is also
impressive. The problem is that it's impressive for a human
being, but when compared to other rock songwriters and multi-instrumentalists,
it's just not that impressive anymore. A few songs here are
passable - "Karmic Wheel" is a snappy power-pop number, "Hope"
and "Insides Out" are nice ballads, "Nevermind" and "Something
Broken" take an occasional stab at pretty harmonies, and "Too
Shy" (not a Kajagoogoo cover) even has a funky bass line.
But a few passable songs do not an album make. The closing
number, "Rejoice," sums up everything that's wrong with "Chasing
the Mad Rabbit" - an attempt to synthesize the sound of several
classic rock elements without any of the feeling behind them.
The mechanized drum machine and Well's 'futuristic' techno-screeches
are only icing on the cake. By the end of it, we can all rejoice
indeed. The liner notes on this CD thank John Lennon for his
"initial inspiration," but this is exactly the sort of soulless
corporate product that would have made Lennon gag.