Album Review

Aaron George

I would be a liar if I said this album was worth the time.

In recent weeks I have been made aware of a very severe problem affecting western culture: rock and roll. An old friend of mine linked me to a fantastic article that made some very good points about the recycled nature of most new music/fashion trends. Almost in confirmation of the writer’s points and a sneaking suspicion I have had since high school, I came upon Rebel Shout by Wintergreen, an album that so far has me vexed at its inherent lack of creativity and originality. Bands like this make me doubt the words of Pablo Picasso when he said "Good artists borrow, great artists steal." Am I just being harsh? Maybe. This isn't the latest Clear Channel hell spawn clogging the radio with rubbish. But Wintergreen’s independent nature does nothing to add to their integrity as original musicians.

What makes Rebel Shout so disappointing? To start, singer Drew Mottinger has a bend towards making noises that are eerily similar to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. However, the high pitched, shaky, and adorable sounds Coyne makes typically either say profound things or are surrounded by impressive music, two things lacking on Rebel. Instead of being psychedelic or heart warming, the songs have a naturally decadent and flippant feel to them. As for the rest of the band, they seem more like session musicians than members of a cohesive band. They enhance things to sound rough around the edges. The mixing is bad and the distortion sounds like a mess. The solos have a decidedly basement-dwelling-stoner feel to them and the spare organ does nothing to salvage things.

That being said, there are some good elements at work here. The music is light-hearted (pretentiousness would have obliterated this album.) This doesn't mean that all the songs are happy but they do a good job of avoiding overindulgence on anything petty. On top of this, things like the slow breakdown in "Let Me In" smell wonderful with the funk of a decent jam band, and I really wish that were a stronger piece of Rebel. The main thing I like about this album is that it is basically free. You can download the album for $7.99 or you can visit the band’s myspace page and hear every song in full for free. From the band’s history it is clear that these guys aren’t in it for the cash which is proof that they are fighting the good fight. Even if this album isn’t stellar, this is still a band to keep an eye on. They have only been around for four years, and they may stumble on to something really cool eventually. But for now I would be a liar if I said this album was worth the time.