Gold Is Dead, Hide Your Rock & Roll

Ross Phasor

Onion Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Imagine if David Bowie, Geddy Lee and Marianne Faithful all got into an elevator that suddenly was sent crashing to the ground. The end mix would sound something like Ross Phasor and their full-length debut Gold Is Dead, Hide Your Rock & Rollmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 .

Scared yet? You should be. This Cambridge, Massachusetts-based quartet pumps out a glam rock-like substance that isn't the most pleasant thing one can listen to. It's a tough disc to get through, even if you're a fan of artists like Bowie.

The group - vocalist John LaCroix, guitarist/keyboardist Charles Hansen, bassist Jay Matrona and drummer Jonathan Screnci - pump out music that doesn't seem to know what time or place it belongs in, all while LaCroix belts out his vocals in a high-octave that doesn't always seem to fit the music. (No offense to LaCroix, but early on, on tracks like "Space Boots" and "Radio Friendly Sellout," I wondered if this band had a female vocalist.)

Musically, Gold Is Dead, Hide Your Rock & Roll is lightweight and forgettable. I wonder if having a lyric sheet would have helped matters, especially on songs like "Party Song" and "Nurse Priestly". Sadly, Ross Phasor often sounds like a rock band caught in a Gary Glitter-type existence - and that's a shame.

On rare occasions, like on "Jet Car" and "Junk," Ross Phasor seems to have a chance to break out of the ho-hum; unfortunately, they quickly settle back in just one song later.

One thing that would help Ross Phasor out would be to hae LaCroix not try to sound like Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes all the time. The material sometimes seems to call for a more restrained vocal performance. Here's hoping he can deliver.

The other thing that could help is simple: time on the road and in the trenches. Ross Phasor is still a very young band, and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that future releases will hold more promise. Until then, Gold Is Dead, Hide Your Rock & Roll is all we have to work with, and it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel with this one.

Rating: D

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 Onion Records, and is used for informational purposes only.