My Pathetic Life

the scoldees

Off Hour Rockers Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Sometimes, as I do this job, I wonder whether it's worth using all the labels that people give music. Especially in the last ten years or so, groups have been integrating so many different styles into their music that it's almost impossible to neatly categorize anyone anymore. Even Metallica has performed with a symphony orchestra... but we'll have more to say about that tomorrow.

I'm further reminded of the futility of labels with the debut release from the scoldees, My Pathetic Life. They're made out to be a pseudo-folk band, but there's more than enough pop sensibility behind these musicians to suggest they could someday make a run for the charts. Anyway, so long as the music is this good, who really cares what you call it?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band - vocalist Nancy Sirianni, vocalist/guitarist Jack Hoffmann, vocalist/guitarist/percussionist John Collis and bassist Ted Rydzewski - deftly walks the line between folk's sensibility and pop's charm, but they do this so smoothly that it's hard to tell exactly when the switches happen.

The one song that clinches things for me on My Pathetic Life is "All I Want," a song that could easily have come from the pen of one of the pop world's hitmakers. Sirianni makes her case in the song well, and by the end, you're thinking that our heroine really isn't asking for too much, even though much of what she wants is out of our grasps.

Likewise, the tracks "My Pathetic Life," "Inside" and "My Bright Life" all sound like they tell the tale of someone who discovers the value of their life through the naked, honest expression of their emotions. Now, I'm pretty sure that these three songs are not meant to be connected, but the story they tell - and the way they flow together effortlessly - makes it impossible for me to separate them in my head... and in this case, I mean that as a high compliment.

My Pathetic Life contains many songs that captivate and move the listener in this way. "Kid Stuff" yearns for the return to the simpleness of childhood, but not for the reasons that have been expressed in so many other songs. In a similar vein, "Masks" shows us how we can so deceive others - as well as ourselves - that when we look in the mirror it's not our true selves that we see. Ka-pow.

While it took me some time to get into tracks like "Silly Girl" and "One Stone," the scoldees quickly calmed any doubts I had about My Pathetic Life and convinced me that these tracks too were worthy of any listener's time and attention.

My Pathetic Life is not a disc you'll presently find in your local Wal-Mart... but if the scoldees are given the right breaks (and I sincerely hope they are given a chance by someone in the industry), that should quickly change. Remember the name: the scoldees. That way, you'll be able to say someday that you were listening to them back when they were still an indie band.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 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 Off Hour Rockers Records, and is used for informational purposes only.