Sonic Reducer

John Hult
2 min read
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It's bad enough that this group of Cure/U2-influenced sweater dudes grew up in Salt Lake City. Really, is the Mormon capital of the world an understanding place for sensitive artist types? Of course not. If the beer is three-two, it's much harder to get drunk and hurl challenges to the Lord above when your indifferent lover blows you off yet again. So the brokenhearted boys left for Tacoma, Wash., finally heard the Cure, and eventually made this album. Thanks for leaving, guys. The bitter aftertaste of a failed relationship is so strong on this album it nearly ended up in my mouth. Nice work.

Parry Gripp For Those About to Shop (Oglio Records)

Nerf Herder's Parry Gripp was ready to quit music altogether a few years back when a strange offer showed up in his mailbox. A corporate food giant was looking for a theme song for its new bite-size frozen waffles. After that, he couldn't stop writing. He never got the gig, but now we've got this album, which may be the funniest concept album ever. It's certainly the funniest one I've heard. This album is comprised of 50-odd commercial jingles. That's it. You're unlikely to listen to this album on repeat—it can get a touch overbearing—but in small doses, this is Chicken Soup for the Goofball's Soul.

Opiate for the Masses Spore (American Voodoo/Capitol)

Opiate for the Masses wants to make you very, very sleepy. Spore's swinging gold watch—the one to hypnotize you into rocking along—is its manipulation of the Sounds of Today. This band uses sounds like DJs use beats, mixing and matching moments you know to give you sensations you haven't quite had. Take the vocal work of singer Ron Underwood. He alternates nicely between Serj Tankin and Maynard James Keenan with touches of Mudvayne's Chad Gray and Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan. He's good, but his own voice makes only a fleeting appearance. Ditto for the compelling lead guitar. What a shame.

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