CD REVIEW: The Pozers - 'Embrace Your Addiction'
By Steve Allat - 07/02/2005 - 09:52 PM EDT
Artist: The Pozers
Album: 'Embrace Your Addiction'
Label: Independent: 6th Floor Records
For Fans Of: Beatles, Beach Boys, Squeeze, Crowded House
Fav Tracks: Whether, What's The Story (music), Lunar Eclipse, The Time And Place
The Pozers CD came to me with some pretty impressive credentials for the band and their previous releases, 4 in all since 1994. These 3 distinct musicians, competent songwriters and vocalists in their own right are back with their 5th CD of rather unique 'retro' pop.
Their sound combines obvious elements of the Beatles and the Beach Boys with a bit of a modern edge, mostly in the form of punchy guitar licks.
My favourite part of listening was the contrast between their high vocals and the low, punchy guitar that ripped through at times.
Although they are all obviously in the same boat and on the same journey, there is a noticeable difference in style from song to song as each takes turns at the helm. To their credit, the songs are arranged so as to be distributed in the most democratic way possible, whether that was conscious or not, so I think we know that this collaboration is fairly ego-less. As great as that is, it unfortunately also contributes to the inconsistency I felt at times on the CD.
Regardless, I was only moderately interested after a few listens, and was waiting for the songs to grow on me, which most never did.
Two main elements were severely lacking for me to enjoy most of the songs:
1. Strong melodic and vocal phrasing
2. A consistent, upbeat vocal to get into
Of the three, Swann's vocals are the least inspiring, Richey's are the most engaging, and Hamm's are the easiest to enjoy. They each have their moments, and as per their desired style there is ample voice modification to give us that 'Sgt. Peppers' vocal feel, but overall the vocals are uninspired and the lyrics too complicated to be enjoyed easily. As well, I can't help the feeling that at moments the vocals are trying to be something they're not - the Beatles. If I wanted to listen to the Beatles . . .
Contributing to the lack of vocal identity, is that there is a little too much happening in the layers of music without a simple, common thread or hook to really anchor the tunes. It's really too bad, because musically there is nothing to complain about. Each of the 3, playing a variety of instruments, performs flawlessly. So, while I'm not in love with the music that's backing the songs, I can't honestly pinpoint a weakness there. Interesting sounds and musical ideas abound, but it just leaves me frustrated that they aren't supporting better songs, better melodies and better vocals.
As I've already stated, the vocal phrasing isn't as strong as it could be to really drill the melodies in and make them memorable. I wouldn't mention it unless I knew it was perhaps the main thing holding the songs back from being outstanding.
Just looking at the lyric sheet makes you realize that the lyrics are wordy and are going to have to be phrased in forced ways. You can actually tell that before even hearing a word being sung. There's no simplicity, no repetition, and no real verse/chorus patterns. Not that those are the be-all and end-all, but they work for a reason. I feel like I'm listening to endless run-on sentences, when really, I just want one thing to hang to within each song.
The first song to really grab my attention is 'Luner Eclipse' (any reason why not Lunar?), but it still just misses overall for reasons already mentioned. The best thing about it is that it doesn't sound like it's trying to be anybody else.
Elements of 'What's The Story' are really great. I'd love to hear more like this. I actually liked the Eddie Money & Led Zep inclusions in the fadeout - they fit nicely.
Continuing on, 'Everybody's High' could have been a solid tune, but it just plods along, monotonously and repetitiously. Another excellent example of a solid song idea gone to waste.
SO close. So many elements to enjoy, but alas, not the whole thing.
I liked a lot of this CD, but just couldn't enjoy it enough, especially when I just kept feeling there could be more.
I wouldn't be so critical if I didn't honestly think that the Pozer's weren't closer than many others to breaking through the mass of independent bands out there to being truly unique and worthy of mass appeal.
Take heed and come on back. I look forward to another round with you guys.
Contact: Angela Thomas, Public Relations, 6th Floor Records
Website: The Pozers @ 6th Floor Records
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