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Night on Earth

Rialto

Release Date: 03.12.02
Record label: Eagle / KOCH
Genre(s): Rock

60 Music-Critic Score
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Oh, Why Bother?
by: matt cibula


This record is what happens when a rock band manages to convince themselves that they've hit on some great formula, some revolutionary sound, when in fact they sound like a million other bands. Namely: Duran Duran and the Boo Radleys and Oasis and David Bowie and Radiohead and, gee, if I named them all this review would take forever. And that's just on the first song, people: "London Crawling" is pretty sure that it's got something cool going on, but it doesn't really. The synthesized strings? Been done. The equation of England's biggest city being boring to the narrator's love life being over? Been done. The sighing bored vocals? Been done.


Things actually do get better from there. I kinda like "Anything Could Happen" and "Anyone Out There?", mostly because they are incredibly straightforward songs that don't try to get all "cool" on our asses. They both take a page from the Spiritualized playbook by trying to emulate Phil Spector-ish Wall of Sound production, but that's always excellent. And on both, the drum sounds are Eighties Cool and the chords seem to last forever.


And there are random outbreaks of excellence among the rest of this only-pretty-good record. "Shatterproof" tries to sound tough, but turns out to be tender: "They may throw stones against the glass / But there's no need to worry / One day they'll need our help and ask / We'll turn and say we're sorry." I do so like the lullaby-like "Deep Space" on key changes alone. And the live acoustic version of "Catherine's Wheel," appended as a bonus track, beats the studio version hands-down, because it just presents the song as it is: a nice little tune about knowing that you're obsessed with a woman who's bad for you. Stripping away the synthesizers and the The Bends guitar-drum sound proves to be a good thing. Hey, dude, been there.


I really want to like Rialto. Mostly, this is because the British music press has already written them off, and I hate those damned posers. But they're probably right: Rialto thinks they're the newest bestest thing, but they're not. They're just a band that doesn't know their own true nature. These songs would all work so much better as live acoustic tracks. Sadly, though, Night on Earth is proof that they don't realize that. They think they NEED to layer all kinds of noise and sound and interference all up in the mix. They don't. They need to just remember: Only connect.


Oh, and no more "London Crawling." That song's crap. 23-Jan-2003 4:17 PM