Ten Story Love

Ten Story Love

Independent Release, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I don't remember what movie the line came from or who said it, but when I review unsigned bands, I often hear the line in my head, "There are eight million stories in the naked city..."

... and New Hampshire-based Ten Story Love is one of them. This pop-rock four-piece cranks out decent rock and roll, depsite having a little more work to do, evidenced on their self-titled CD.

The band - lead vocalist/guitarist Brad Page, guitarist/vocalist Scot Gibbs, bassist Michael Haught and now former drummer Jason Waugaman - are a pretty tight musical outfit. (Dave Stearns became the band's new drummer recently.) The overall sound on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Ten Story Love is surprisingly crisp, even though I would have bumped the treble knob up just a hair. At times, their playing reminds me of Big Head Todd And The Monsters, not a bad band to be compared to.

What strikes me is that Page, on the band's Website, seems to downplay his ability to play guitar. In fact, this is not the band's weakness at all; the guitar lines, while not flashy, suit the mood quite well. It is the vocal department that needs some work. Page is an average singer, but there are times where it sounds like he's straining to stay in key ("In A Different World").

But there are times on this album where everything just clicks right into place. The opening track, "The Perfect Girl," almost has a Todd Rundgren-like self-deprecation to it: "She's the perfect girl / And she's not mine." "Breakdown Lane" is almost Delta blues-like in nature, and is a fun one to listen to. Other standouts on this disc include "Marian On The Steps," "Human Torch" and "It Happens Every Time".

Other times, the concept is good, but the songwriting shows it occasionally still needs a coat of paint or two. "Go Fish" is cute, but a little corny, in its description of a relationship gone sour. "The Company Store" is an okay effort about selling yourself out in order to succeed in business, but it needed a little more emotion for my tastes. The album's closer, "This Island Earth", well... let's just say I'll never be able to hear this title again without thinking of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Sorry, guys - nice try, otherwise.

The gist of it is that Ten Story Love is a band who, in this particular incarnation, had been together for only three years. There is a lot of musical maturity that you can hear on this disc, but Page and company still need to tighten up things a little bit, particularly in the vocals and the songwriting. These are things that only come along with the scars of life on the road, so I'm sure that things will iron themselves out.

Ten Story Love is a good start... but I'm waiting to see what happens in future chapters.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 Independent Release, and is used for informational purposes only.