The Cure

The Cure brought their tour for Bloodflowers to a packed pavilion at The World Music Theatre last weekend, and proved the band still has plenty of darkness to work out to all of those who complained the band's last couple albums were too "happy."

The band played three hours and avoided most of their poppy "hits" catalogue in favor of long drawn-out jams from Bloodflowers as well as some of their older "dark" albums like Disintegration and Faith and more.

While the set proved well-suited to laidback "dreaming," a little more variance in tempos would have helped take make this a great show. Regardless, there is no other band that knows how to set a mood as well as The Cure. Long may they dirge.

 

Dusty Trails
Dusty Trails
Dusty Trails(Atlantic)


My first mistake was when I heard this new duo included Josephine Wiggs, onetime bassist for The Breeders, I assumed that it would have some killer "Cannonball" grooves behind it.

My assumption couldn't have been farther from the truth. In joining with Vivian Trimble, of Luscious Jackson, Wiggs has, instead of fashioning a new grrrl power rock act, helped create the perfect cure for insomnia.

That's not all bad.

I have occasional sleepless nights.

It's just not what I expected.

Dusty Trails is a mix of atmospheric jazz, loungey bop-ba-da-da's, and even a touch of French lyrical mystery (at least, I think it's French. I'm no cosmopolitan). There's even a nicely weathered and wanting guest vocal from Emmylou Harris probably the most stand up and be noticed track on the disc. Sometimes Wiggs and Trimble da-da-da together for a soothing harmonic effect, other times, they offer instrumental mixes that could easily serve as soundtrack music.

If you took all the upbeat pop sense out of Swing Out Sister or The Cardigans, you might be left with the soft jazzy touch of Dusty Trails.

If you're looking for some mildly exotic elevator music to fill your background spaces, this is the disc. Personally, I'm hoping Wiggs' former bandmates, Kim and Kelley Deal, have something more substantive.

 

King's X - Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous King's X
Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous
(Metal Blade)


As far as I'm concerned, if you cop a title as outrageous as Please Come Home ... Mr. Bulbous, you'd better have something outrageously cool to live beneath it.

King's X doesn't.

Oh the first song, "Fish Bowl Man" is weird enough. There's a stream of spaced-out consciousness break portion where singer Ty Tabor goes off on some kind of seemingly extemporaneous beat poet-like rant (don't ask me what he's talking about) before returning to the insipid chorus of "I'm in a fish bowl/I'm a fish bowl man." But I wouldn't exactly call it a good song. Next comes "Julia,"a brooding dirge of a track that does OK until it begins quoting "Red Rover" and he sings "send rover right over."

Things finally seem to get on track with "She's Gone Away," one of King's X's trademark Beatles meet fuzz metal anthems. And on "Marsh Mellow Field,"the trio is anything but mellow, as Tabor begs "oh won't you take me out of my mind."

Then on "When You're Scared," the band reaches back to its Gretchen Goes To Nebraska "fairy tale" roots and cops a slowly scintillating guitar vibe.

"Charlie Sheen" serves as the title to the album's cleanest guitar round up, but I have absolutely no idea what Charlie has to do with this song about wars, waiting rooms, and the chorus of "kill the king/strip the queen."

And that's really the problem with a lot of this disc. King's X sounds pensive and filled with "important" words ... but I haven't a clue as to what their message is on Mr. Bulbous. Their big chorus harmonies still sound distinctively warm, but much of this album just drones along, an excercise in singing sugar atop calculated distortion.

King's X has been slowly sliding into irrelevancy ever since its fourth, and best album, King's X. After the disappointing followup Dogman and the equally patchy sixth album Ear Candy, the band left Atlantic Records and landed on Metal Blade with 1998's Tape Head. Their eighth album overall, Mr. Bulbous shows a band with a great studio sense (their harmonies are unbeatable in the hard rock arena) but with little left to say.

Mr. Bulbous' best track is its last, the head-swaying jam "Move Me" (falsely divided on the CD into tracks 9 and 10 it's really a seamless whole.) But it seems both a long time to arrive at the album's sole keynote and a short number of songs to arrive at the album's end. Hopefully, after a flood of fast releases solo albums from Tabor and Doug Pinnick and two King's X albums on Metal Blade all over the past two years the band will settle down, take some more time and come back with a real mind blower for Metal Blade album #3. Out of the Silent Planet, Faith Hope Love and King's X all showed they have it in 'em. I've been waiting to hear more of it.

 

Modest Mouse
The Moon & Antarctica
(Epic)


If Beck and Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction) got together and occasionally brought in Cracker to back them up, they might sound something like this.

Only they'd have better songs.