Wednesday, February 19, 2003
There's a long history of bands setting themselves up for bad reviews with pun-friendly album titles -- Metallica's "Load" and Milli Vanilli's "Moment of Truth" come to mind -- but Getaway Driver's second EP has got to top the list. In fact, their product branding is so dead-on that I'm liable to forgive them for their missteps and move on to a more deceitful title like Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's "Greatest Hits Vol. 3." But alas, I must defend my grandiloquent claims.
The majority of the cliches reside within the lyrics, which contain enough references to unrequited love to fill up a Dashboard Confessional diary and half an episode of Elimidate (If you keep me away from, these trains and stars / Will you know what to say, when you rip out my heart? -- "Uno MÃ¡s"). Add to that a drums and chorus sing-along of "Remember the first time, we sat together on the roof" in the middle of "The Breakdown Script" and you've got yourself a bona-fide 7th Heaven season finale.
Fortunately, "Cliches with Harmonies" has a bright moment for every cliche. When second vocalist Stephen Wolfe interrupts "The River in Question" to spit "We will say when we're just fine" over a menacing twin-guitar throttle lifted straight from the set of tour mates' Salt the Earth, Getaway Driver finally hits on a guitar riff acerbic enough for the lyrics. Wolfe has a strikingly powerful voice that the band would do well to utilize more often.
Oddly enough, the brightest spot on the disc comes in the form of an instrumental titled "Beyond the Moon, Beyond the Rain" (they just couldn't resist injecting a little bit of cliche into it I guess). Though it runs about twice as long as it should, the tune showcases the dexterity of drummer Thomas Brantman in navigating a pounding riff of Shiner-lithic proportions.
In the long run, it may pay off for Getaway Driver to release a couple of EP's before embarking on a full length. They've already made great strides since their first EP, both in song craft and recording quality. The next step is to banish the cliches entirely.