Review Rundown! Suicide City, Final Gravity, Smile Empty Soul, Let's Get It

This Review Rundown features reviews of the newest releases from Suicide City, Smile Empty Soul, Final Gravity, Let’s Get It, and a Tribute to Love and Rockets – ‘New Tales to Tell.’

Suicide City – ‘Frenzy’ (The END Records): It’s hard to believe that Suicide City boasts former members of Biohazard and Kittie amongst its ranks. With a mixture of musicians with such a staunch metal pedigree, it’s a bit odd to hear this type of music belting out of the speakers, which comes off a bit Amen and Mindless Self Indulgence. In journalism we have a common mistake called ‘burying the lead,’ something Suicide City does on their debut record, ‘Frenzy.’ ‘She Waits’ and ‘Start the Show’ are the albums best well rounded and most complete tracks, yet they are buried near the end of the album, although that isn’t taking anything from some of the albums openers, like ‘Sex and Dying’ and ‘The Only Track About Sex or Dying,’ which are very good in their own right. A frequently question that is asked in music is – is it better to start strong or finish strong? A question Suicide City answers easily with ‘Frenzy’ – both. (
Grade: B
Go Download: ‘She Waits’

Smile Empty Soul – ‘Consciousness’ (F.O.F. Label Group): There is a reason you don’t hear Smile Empty Soul on the radio anymore, something the band is quick to showcase on their latest disc, ‘Consciousness.’ They do show some flashes throughout, but the admirable rock moments are too few and far between (‘Faker,’ ‘Walking Away,’ ‘Ban Nuys’). Even the records brightest spots are too generic, a sentiment that rings all too loudly the whole album through. And putting into words just how bad the songwriting is would take far too much time. If you were unaware that Smile Empty Soul just dropped a new album, you’re not alone. (
Grade: D
Go Download: ‘Faker’

Final Gravity – ‘Final Gravity’: This record is dripping with delicious 80’s progressive rock nostalgia, from the sounds all the way down to the song titles themselves (‘The Flying Dutchman,’ ‘Shadow of the Wolf’). Although you’d like to hear vocalist Bill Moore wail a little more and elevate to that next vocal plateau (because he obviously has the chops), what he displays on the bands’ debut eponymous release gets the job done. Parts of the record make Final Gravity sound like a bar band, and while the record is too long at 13 tracks, there are a lot of moments of clarity (‘Lightning and Rainbows,’ ‘Go On Home’), as well as high points that will make you think these guys kick ass (‘Phoenix,’ ‘Room 19’). The production level is a sort of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where it’s not too high and not too low, yet just right to fit the bands crafted prog-rock groove. The songs themselves aren’t formulaic (verse, chorus, verse), nor are they all conventional length, which makes things more attractive. (
Grade: C
Go Download: ‘Room 19’

Let’s Get It – ‘Digital Spaces’ (Fearless Records): It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find much fault in the signings of Fearless Records as of late, especially when the bands are as capable as Let’s Get It. ‘Digital Spaces,’ the bands’ debut, is a perfect showcase of the bands blend of killer hooks and fun vibes powerpop with a forward thinking tilt. This record is good enough standing alone, as to not facilitate the need for all of the synth touches, but they are there, so deal. They do add something even though mostly they lack punch. The song titles are a tad bit hokey, albeit hilarious (‘Shoot for Teams,’ ‘To Catch a Snipe’), and the boys seemingly enjoy their high end vodkas (‘Duck, Duck, Grey Goose,’ ‘Ciroc and Roll’). With more releases like ‘Digital Spaces,’ Let’s Get It should be primed to take the powerpop crown and sip nothing but the finest of champagnes. Well, on second thought, make that vodka.
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Duck, Duck, Grey Goose’

Various Artists – ‘New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets’ (Justice Records): Love and Rockets are a band who should not need an introduction, and for those who do need one – first, shame on you, and second, stop living under that rock you’ve been living under for the past two decades plus. Up and down ‘New Tales to Tell’ there are eclectic artists after eclectic artists, paying tribute to the seminal alternative band, like Monster Magnet, Better Than Ezra and percussionist Adrian Young. Black Francis kicks things off with a rendition of ‘All in My Mind,’ adding his usual alt-indie, folk rock feel to the effort, Puscifer’s dirty electronic take on ‘Holiday on the Moon’ gives the track a mountainous feel, Blaqk Audio’s ‘No New Tales to Tell’ registers as one of the best cuts off the record. The airy dancefloor ready cover of ‘Inside the Outside’ from the Dandy Warhols seems a tad drawn out, but it is a success regardless. ‘New Tales to Tell’ is an easy listen, but not so much that you forget you’re listening to something special. Daniel Ash and the boys should be pleased with this collection.
Grade: B
Go Download: ‘No New Tales to Tell’