Tsunami Suicide

Bogart

Ock Music, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/17/1998

In the few years since the Canadian quintet Bogart have released an album, the band and its members have undergone some major changes in their lives. The band has not played live in some time, according to guitarist/vocalist Bo Galczyk. Singer Earl Russel, while still a member of the band, has been playing less of a role with the group. Galczyk's brother died earlier this year. Add all these things together, and you can't blame Bogart for taking some extra time between Waiting For Something To Happen and their latest effort, Tsunami Suicide.

However, the added time the band had to work on the album seems to have worked in the band's benefit. It's neither a stagnating piece of aging bar-band rock nor a weepy why-do-bad-things-happen-to-me portrait of life. Instead, it features some of the band's best work, although they don't have all the wrinkles ironed out yet.

Russel still makes a significant contribution on Tsunami Suicide, providing lead vocals on four songs, including the title track, "Original Sin" and "Two Thousand Violins". For the most part, Galczyk handles the bulk of the lead vocals, and despite a hesitant start on "The Other Ten Percent," quickly proves that he's as capable a lead vocalist as Russel. "Words Opposed To My Caress" reminds me a lot of a mostly unheralded band, October Project, and is a solid piece of songwriting and performance.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Tsunami Suicide contains many areas of improvement. Bassist Lawrence Deslauriers seems to have found his own unique groove on the four-string, and his work here is quickly addictive. The overall sound of Bogart also is vastly improved, though I still would like a little more treble in the mix. (Hell, let's face it, I crave treble in music like Emeril Lagasse craves garlic - and if you don't understand the reference, you're not into cable cooking shows.)

But the biggest improvement in Bogart is that many of their songs seem ready to invade radio, if only given the chance. "Information Superhighway" makes fun of the Internet and its denizens without sounding whiny in the least. (On a personal note, I'd like to thank the band for not mentioning this site at the point that everyone yells, "This sucks!" in the song. I'll take that as a compliment.) "Two Thousand Violins," "Original Sin" and "You Name It" all have a bounciness that makes their grooves infectious. (I don't know if it was necessary to include radio-friendly - meaning, edited for time - versions of five of the tracks, but at least they chose five of the best.)

But no matter how many times I listen to Tsunami Suicide, it's still hard for me to get past the use of a guest vocalist (Elsie Osborne) on "Pangaea", namely because I'm not expecting to hear a strange voice enter the mixture of Bogart. I asked Galczyk why Osborne was used on this track via e-mail; he replied that they felt this song was best voiced by a woman, not by anyone else in the band. Fair enough.

And as much as I don't want to slam a song that Galczyk wrote about his brother, "When Fetches Call" is not the strongest performance on the disc. It takes quite a bit of time to build up into a solid rhythm - by the time it reaches the boiling point, you might have lost interest. I also would question the almost minute-long cymbal work from drummer Ron Mohr at the end of the song.

Still, the two missteps on Tsunami Suicide are minor, and they show the great amount of musical growth that Bogart has undergone in such a short time. With a little more work, Bogart could be poised on their greatest moment: the critical breakthrough. Here's hoping someone in the music industry is willing to take a chance with these guys; this album proves just what they're capable of.

  For more information on this album or to order, visit Bogart's Web page at:

http://www.getthe.net/pages/ock/bogart.htm

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ock Music, and is used for informational purposes only.