Night on Earth
label: Eagle / KOCH
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
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
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.
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.
liked Night on Earth...
2. Anything Could Happen
3. Anyone Out There?
4. Catherine's Wheel
5. Idiot Twin
7. Brilliant Fake
8. Three Ring Circus
10. Deep Space
11. Underneath A Distant Moon
12. Someone That She Used To Know
13. Catherine's Wheel (Live Acoustic Version)