Album Reviews: Welcome to the North by The MusicIt's hard not to listen to The Music's second album without scratching your head and wondering what the big deal is. Over in England, these guys are being almost universally hailed as The Next Big Thing, saving rock from neo-garage minimalism and Darkness-style camp alike in one fell swoop. But if this is rock's savior, it had better just go right on self-destructing, because Welcome to the North may be one of the worst albums of the year.
To their credit, The Music at least possesses a unique sound, drawing on a wide range of classic rock influences, all of them bad. On the title track, which opens the album, they come on like a Rush cover band tossing an early Live track into their set, all histrionic vocals, martial drumming and bombastic guitar riffs. Eleven tracks later, they've morphed into some kind of '80s hair-metal balladeers, belting out a lighter-flicking chorus on "Open Your Mind" that would do Whitesnake proud. In between, they churn out one arena-friendly jam session after another, flashing the occasional monster guitar lick or interesting groove (led by drummer Phil Jordan's skittering, gee-I-wish-we-sounded-more-like-U2 high-hat), but never producing anything that resembles an actual song.
Is the British press really so nostalgic for the good old days that they'd swallow this nonsense? Apparently so. But here in America, where every Podunk town has at least one radio station playing mediocre classic rock 24-7, The Music offers nothing we haven't long since gotten sick of. - Andy Hermann
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