Waiting For Something To Happen

Bogart

Ock Music, 1995

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/08/1997

Ever since I offered to review unsigned bands here on "The Daily Vault," we have been getting requests from bands looking for some positive press - fortunately, all of the bands I've reviewed in this vein have been worthy of praise on these pages.

But when I got an e-mail from Bo Galczyk from the band Bogart asking for a review, he was to the point: "I realize you may crucify us, but if you can't stand the heat..." When he sent Bogart's two discs to me, his letter said in part: "We hope you find the music to have some merit but be as hard on us as you like...".

Oh, boy oh boy oh boy! Here is a man after my own heart - it was almost as if they were begging me to do my worst.. It's just a shame Bogart didn't give me a reason to break out the cross and nails with their second album, Waiting For Something To Happen. It features an aural document of a bar band trying to make it big - and they put forth a valiant effort.

Vocalist Earl Russel leads this five-piece Canadian group through some well-crafted originals, and while there are one or two clunkers along the way, the remainder of the album shows off some fine songwriting and the results of over a decade of slugging it out on the road. With the addition of drummer Ron Mohr, Bogart seemed to tighten as a band even more than on their debut my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ock. Keyboardist Denis Pion and guitarist Galczyk provide a solid rhythm section, and while bassist Lawrence Deslauriers adds to the mix, his one opportunity to shine on "Don't Hold Back" is all but wasted as he keeps playing a basic rhythm.

Bogart shows the power of their own material on cuts like "Dance To The Dance," which could do quite well on adult-contemporary radio if stations would take a chance on a band not signed to a major label, and "Wash It All Away." Galczyk creates some danceable rhythms with his creative riffing on "Don't Hold Back," and shows his talents on both acoustic and electric guitar throughout the album.

Waiting For Something To Happen runs the gamut of styles, from love-ballads like "Yesterday's Love" to all-out boogie on "Last Chance Romance" to thoughtful tunes like "One Friday In May." And unlike many major-label bands, they are able to pull off this shift in genre almost seamlessly - in fact, it seems like the band would suffer if they were forced to stick with one style.

Even a song like "Love Is A Four-Letter Word" is just as good as many of the songs I hear on the radio day in and day out - the difference being that Bogart is still struggling to get attention on the airwaves. Russel and crew have almost mastered the genre op power-pop.

But while this album shows a lot of promise, there are a few bumps along the way. "Over 18 Under 65" could have been a great song (and seeing the self-deprecating humor of the band members in their press kit, could have even been quite funny), it just fails to develop. A few other songs, like "Tribute To Rock 'N Roll," reflect a little too much on their bar band past - it's one thing to respect your roots, it's another to play the sycophant to them.

And then there is the cover, the song that epitomizes every struggling band, "Smoke On The Water" - AAAAARGGGH, nononononono! While Bogart does a decent job on it (even with a second guitar part dubbed on - unless someone else handled the guitar and I can't see it in the credits), it hardly seemed necessary to cover one of the best-known rock songs when the rest of the album could have stood under its own power.

Still, this is a very promising group who, with the right A&R rep at a label reading this review, have a decent chance of breaking out of Canada and making a name for themselves. Waiting For Something To Happen is a well-crafted album from road-scarred veterans - and with the right break, they may not be waiting much longer.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 1997 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.