Independent release, 2003


REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg


Hybrids are cool -- except when they aren’t.  An example of the latter would be Pat Boone singing metal classics.  An example of the former would be Eric Winzenried and company’s melding of indie guitar rock with hip-hop and reggae. 

Yes, Sublime did it first, but on tracks like “Hollywood Drunk,” singer-songwriter-co-producer Winzenried and band take a fresh, appealing approach to melding these seemingly disparate styles.  Winzenried plays up the hip-hop influences early on, throwing in two brief skits before dropping into the steady flow of “my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ohio.”  By the time you roll past “Hollywood Drunk” to track six, though, he’s ready to hit you with a major curveball; “Smarter One” is a classic-rock piano and guitar ballad that sounds rather like Axl Rose singing R.E.M., until you zero in on the sarcasm underlying the sentimentality.

Winzenried’s playfulness reaches full bloom in the pair that follows, as an “Answering Machine” vignette leads right into “Can’t Stay At My Apartment,” a kiss-off to undesirable couch-crashers everywhere.  Alternating between frantic, angry flow on the verses and sarcastic melodiousness on the verses, Winzenried delivers an undeniably funny and well-executed novelty.  “Punchline” is another terrific track, full of attitude and hooks, and “Cold Day” is a stellar closer, a sincere, straight-up mid-tempo rocker.

Not everything here works as well.  “Therapy” has hilarious lyrics, but Winzenried’s wildman-on-bennies delivery is over the top and distracting; a straighter read would have been even funnier.  And while the ecelectic mix of styles sprinkled throughout this 16-track disc creates moments of musical euphoria, it’s a little dizzying after awhile unless you’re as caffeinated and/or inebriated as Winzenried himself apparently is.

Winzenried’s bandmates Alex Irwin (drums), Carl West (bass), Paul Sandberg (keys) and Lloyd Stuart Casson (guitars and production) nail the arrangements again and again, keeping the tone light but tight.  Overall, Hooray!! is a potent showcase for an act that’s undeniably different, but definitely achieves that unique aura of hybrid cool.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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