I think an indication of any alleged music reviewer's merit is
in his or her ability to admit when they're wrong, or take back
criticism leveled at an artist… In reviewing Bane's 1999
It All Comes Down To This I was quick to be harsh, and called their attempts at statement-making and idealism childish, cliché, and hackneyed.
Bane (which features members of Converge) are an acquired taste for sure, but when you (or I) finally realize that the singer comes with the house, and that's the way it is, then you look past the distinct limitations of his approach. You observe the, uh, uniqueness of his vocal technique.
Their musicianship here is akin to an angrier, grittier Lagwagon. That group always had the chops for days, but were so glued to the Descendents bozack that I couldn't take much more than four or five songs before I reached for the "real" thing (in this case "I Don't Wanna Grow Up").
Everyone who has ever slogged through the local music circuit has either been in, or at least heard of a group called Free Beer. They're in every town, and are usually the designation someone gives a band who sincerely sucks, and can gleefully assassinate "Baby, It's You" at the Oak Tree Lounge, or any other gross white-trash bar on a Friday night without seeming to ask themselves why they're there in the first place.
I was in a Free Beer in San Bernardino, California in the early 1990's, and we were probably the most horrendous version of that appellation in the entire city. It really was down to our singer, a boisterously tone-deaf gentleman with paint-peeling armpits and a haircut that I swore was a wig until I pulled on it when his back was turned.
I'm mentioning them because Bane vocalist Aaron Bedard is a dead-ringer for this guy in the crooning department, but, again, Bane's songs did grow on me this time. Maybe I'll borrow that copy of It All Comes Down To This again.
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