Posts Tagged ‘lost albums of the 90’s

26
Feb
12

Retro review: Boa’s Twilight

Artist: Bôa

Album: Twilight (2001)

Bôa are a band that that got a raw deal; their North American debut, Twilight, came in a little too late to capitalize on its strong alternative/post grunge sound.  Led by Jasmine and Steve Rodgers – the children of singer Paul Rodgers – Bôa excel in subdued alternative music with a slight eastern flair.  Though Twilight was released in 2001, it’s mostly made up of previously released material from the 90’s that were unavailable in North America.  For all intents and purposes, Twilight is a pre-packaged introduction to the band.  In other territories, Bôa had a hit with “Duvet,” their finest moment, and received a little extra exposure from it being used as the intro to the anime Serial Experiments Lain.  In fact, “Duvet” appears twice on the album: once as an opener, and again in acoustic form.  Tactics like this always come off as a tad desperate, but the acoustic version is a nice foil.

Twilight’s best moments come when signer Jasmine Rodgers allows her voice to float with the music, instead of commanding and overpowering it; “Welcome” and “Drinking” being two prime examples of the formula working.  Elsewhere, the Eastern European flair of “Anna Maria” falls flat and “Rain” is a fine example of a song brought down by overwrought and silly lyrics: “Suicide is rain in pain.”  Indeed.  Fortunately the stronger moments outweigh the weaker, but for the most part it’s difficult to hear anything except un-realized potential.

3/5

 

Check out the video for “Duvet” directly under this sentence.

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23
Feb
12

retro review: machines of loving grace’s concentration

Artist: Machines of Loving Grace

Album: Concentration (1993)

In the early to mid 90’s there existed a scene of electronic music; some of it making it to the mainstream like Nine Inch Nails, and others not so much.  Machines of Loving Grace was a band that occupied that fine line between mainstream success and the growing underground of industrial artists.  I was introduced to the band through the soundtrack to The Crow, which was basically a 90’s alterna-fest.  Their greatest achievement, Concentration, is not only an achievement for the band, but for the genre as a whole.

It’s easily to dismiss Concentration as being too “of its time,” and there is some merit to that argument; production wise, the album hasn’t aged all that well.  Electronic blips and synths sound dated by today’s standards, but it’s not as cringe worthy as, say, 80’s Depeche Mode.  On Concentration there is a complex combination of sounds working to create something unique; funk, soul, and industrial rock all find a comfortable place here.  The grooves found on “Limiter” and “Ancestor Cult” are simply too good to be ignored, and opener “Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll)” is the finest example of all the elements coming together.

A couple of singes had their day on MTV, such as “Butterfly Wings” and the aforementioned “Perfect Tan,” but, as is usually the case, the best stuff couldn’t be found on TV or the radio: “Lilith/Eve” stands as one of my favorite songs of the entire decade.  Its funk sampling, jagged guitar, and hushed verses is intoxicating.  Like many songs on Concentration, “Lilith/Eve” creates a mood and makes it sound natural.

Concentration deftly combines sounds to transcend the genre label of simple “industrial rock,” and though Machines of Loving Grace would go on to record one more album, 1995’s Gilt, Concentration stands as their crowning achievement that has unfortunately been swept away by time.

4.5/5

Check out the video for “Perfect Tan (Bikini Atoll)” below.

22
Feb
12

Retro Review: Blind Melon’s Soup

Artist: Blind Melon

Album: Soup (1995)

It’s unfortunate what modern radio did to Blind Melon; their only hit single “No Rain,” destroyed whatever chance they had to really make it.  Their 1995 sophomore album, Soup, offers none of the sparkly pop that produced “No Rain.”  Instead, listeners are treated to a more mature, stronger sounding version of their self-titled debut.  Opening track “Galaxie” features a horn section, and an inebriated sounding Shannon Hoon before launching into a real rocker.  Those who dismissed Blind Melon missed some of the best writing they had to offer: “Mouthful of Cavities,” with its lovely acoustic that barely hints at the full-bodied assault found later in the song.  Elsewhere, “Toes Across The Floor” and “Walk” are the great singles that never were.  The new-found maturity doesn’t mean that there is no silliness to be had; check out “Skinned,” a short “ditty” sung from the point of view of a serial killer and features the best use of kazoo ever recorded.

Blind Melon are doomed to be known as the band that produced “that video with the bee girl,” and that’s a damn shame.  There is something special captured on Soup that most people will never experience.

4/5

 

Check out the video for “Toes Across the Floor”

 




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