Have You Got a Name for It
Itís strangely pleasing when a title accurately describes the contents. This album is a splendid bit of dreamy songsmithing. Itís also the first post-Frente album from vocalist Angie Hart, who is these days paired musically and romantically with former Alanis Morissette guitarist Jesse Tobias (and if you need proof of the latter, just check the CD cover where they sport tattoos of each otherís first names).
While she may have swapped guitarists, donít look for any Alanis-angst guitar shredding here; this album could easily have come out as Frente III, if that band hadnít imploded after a sophomore slump. Front and center are Hartís delicate, waifishly vulnerable vocals and behind her Tobias generally strums strong but quietly moving chord changes leaving Hartís charisma to work its magic.
And it does.
The album seems to be structured as a song cycle detailing the breakup ripples from Hartís on-again off-again romantic liaison with Frente guitarist Simon Austin and her finding of a new soulmate in Tobias. In the opener, "Iím No Better," she blames herself as well as her ex for the end of a love — "Iím no better, I know," she admits over a lightly crunchy base of guitars and background rhythm loops. Then in "Less Than Zero" she cries "I donít want to play this game no more/if this is a love Iím fighting for/and if it was than why would you let me feel so less than zero?" with subdued background vocals and a gloriously melancholy ascendant chorus. On "Better Things" she weaves the closest thing to a power anthem here with a pointed goodbye to a lover singing "Iíve got better things to do/better things to do than make your bed/ I wash my hands...nothing left to cry Iíve got bigger things to lie about than you/take my word for example/Iíve got better things to do."
At mid-album, things change from love-lost to love-found. "Hello Dear" has upbeat chiming guitars and "Living" is a delicately circular love song of being overcome by love ("spinning, spinning, spinning/like a bird with one wing").
Thereís one cover song — a new track by Parthenon Huxley, "Come Clean" — about confessing oneís indiscretions, and also a couple of gorgeously gentle ballads in "Beat of Your Blood" and "You and Me."
Have You Got A Name For It closes with a hidden bonus track — the albumís most rockiní moment — a Go-Goís-esque song telling the story behind the coupleís exchange of tattoos ("got a new tattoo/ itís got your name/Iím in love with you/and youíre to blame/if you love me too/youíd do the same...Iíve got you under my skin")
Splendidís debut is like those loverís tattoos — just a couple listens and this one will be under your skin too.
New on the Shelves
Columbia Records will be releasing a box set by Seattle grunge kings Alice In Chains later this year, including a new single, "Get Born Again." Oddly enough, before the box is even available, the label is undercutting its sales possibilities by offering a scaled down version for fans who donít want to wait and shell out the cash for the box. Normally labels wait until after a box set has had its day on the stands before trying to milk them for a little more with "best of the box" collections.
In any case, Nothing Safe - The Best of the Box, is a 15-song compilation that hit the streets this week, and includes the new single and another new song, "Get Born Again," as well as a 1989 demo from the band, "We Die Young," "Man In The Box," "Them Bones," "What The Hell Have I" (from the Last Action Hero soundtrack) and "Got Me Wrong," taken from their MTVUnplugged show.
Columbiaís Legacy label has reissued Blue River, a classic singer-songwriter folk album from 1972 by Eric Andersen and has also remastered and released expanded editions of Peter Toshís first two albums as a solo artist, Legalize It from 1976 and Equal Rights, from 1977. The label has also put out a 15-track hits collection from the reggae legend in Scrolls of the Prophet: The Best of Peter Tosh.
Legacy has also reissued some classic Epic albums from wildman guitarist Ted Nugent. Just re-released on CD are his classic Ď70s solo albums Cat Scratch Fever, Free-For All, and Ted Nugent, each featuring a handful of bonus live tracks and outtakes from the recording sessions.
MCA continues its mining of the Jimi Hendrix catalogue with a newly expanded, remixed and remastered 2-CD set from the late guitar great in Jimi Hendrix: Live At Woodstock. The discs feature 15 songs including "Message to Love," "Foxey Lady," "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," and his memorable performance of the "Star Spangled Banner."