REVIEW ROUNDUP: CYPRESS HILL, DEFTONES, THE DIRTY HEADS, SERJ TANKIAN, SILVERSUN PICKUPS, CREED, CHARLIE WINSTON
Admittedly not much variety this week, both in terms of genre nor ratings. That’s just cause radio’s waking up and starting to deliver better material after a slow January.
Charlie Winston – I Love Your Smile
The newest from UK singer/songwriter, Charlie Winston, sounds straight from a Randy Newman score. Sentimental, poignant piano, and wistful lyrics. The suppressed horns and subdued, contemporary drumming keep Charlie’s voice in front characteristic of any pop song. While it doesn’t possess the joviality of previous songs, it does have Audrey Tautou in the video. (And who can deny her?)
Creed – A Thousand Faces
Backing vocals with Scott Stapp? Although it is a fairly standard Creed single, even with the hiatus, the backing vocals from guitarist Mark Tremonti are cause alone to give “A Thousand Faces” multiple listens. The post-grunge guitars, invigorated with steely acoustic, proves to be a remarkable exception to the prior singles the Nashville rock band has given us.
Cypress Hill – Rise Up (feat. Tom Morello)
In the current world of music dominated by drive-by indies quickly consumed and disposed faster than Sonic, ain’t it heartwarming to hear a collaboration between the forefathers of melding rock and rap with Tom Morello. For the youngsters, Cypress Hill predated the ilk of Fred Durst and Everlast, skewing more towards actual hip-hop than rock. They had teeth-or grills-until 2004’s “What’s Your Number?” started a decline into just another clip on VH1’s I Love the 90s. Circa 2010, Tom Morello gives them a much needed boost, for everyone’s sake, through a whammy pedal. While it’s not the overarching “(Rock) Superstar”, I personally believe it to be a bedrock single to build that anticipated album upon.
Good job, Tom, for not going over the top on the solo.
Deftones – Rocket Skates
Since Saturday Night Wrist and its “Hole in the Earth” and “Mein”, Deftones have experienced trauma in the worst since. Eros, the follow-up, is on hiatus, now eclipsed by the upcoming Diamond Eyes. Yet the tragedy rests entirely in the comatose state of their bassist Chi Cheng back in November 2008. The typical reaction is to break-up, and if not, that’s the typical consequence. “Rocket Skates”, the first single off Diamond…, is the closest Deftones has gotten to a revival of breakthrough singles “My Own Summer (Shove It)” and “Back to School (Mini Maggit)”. Chino Moreno’s vocals remain ethereal and lagged, ignoring Stephen Carpenter’s pistoning guitarwork and relentless drumming.
The Dirty Heads – Lay Me Down (feat. Rome of Sublime)
Remember Dispatch? Now drop the trio into a duo, inject a bit of Sublime minus the vibrance, and layer it with 311. That’s what the single sounds like, not coincidentally featuring Rome Ramirez of the upcoming collaboration Sublime with Rome. Our first taste of the seminal yet newfound “Sublime” coupled with SoCal’s The Dirty Heads is all that summer single you’d expect. A tale of cross-border criminality meets “Paul Revere” is the mellowest, chillest caper heard in years.
Serj Tankian – The Charade
Originally penned for the indefinitely-hiatused (and arguably music’s most progressive act) System of a Down, “The Charade” is the most orchestrated single, presumably to support his latest Elect the Dead Symphony release. Yet the orchestral accompaniment is too flourishing, distracting from Serj’s unequaled vocal talent turning it almost comical. We’re left, not with a balancing act, but tipped scales with the heavier, better portions not during the usually cleverly interjected intermissions, but the chorus.
Silversun Pickups – The Royal We
Brian Aubert and Nikki Monninger’s vocals, one of the best collaborative duos in modern alternative, are joined fantastically over strings, particularly towards the end of the third single off Swoon. The heaviness lies within the surging string section. It’s subtle, as if riding the wake “Substitution” and “Panic Switch” left before it.