Tidewater Grain offers nothing new
Here on the Outside
Riffination/Warner Bros. Records
By Jeffrey LaCour
Daily Cougar Staff
Tidewater Grain is a five-piece hard rock
band straight off the streets of Philadelphia. After rocking the local
music scene for several years, the band finally released its debut album,
Here on the Outside, in early September and went on a Western tour
with Alice Cooper.
Kevin McNamera (vocals) and John Daly (guitar)
were old high school friends who joined with D.L. (guitar), Dave Fritz
(bass) and James Billington (drums) to form the band. Tidewater does not
use any gimmicks like jumpsuits and clown masks or a DJ to help the band's
stage presence; it prefers to let straightforward rock 'n' roll speak for
Here on the Outside is an album
that has great thoughts and ideas presented with some awesome lyrics. Unfortunately,
it doesn't offer much else. The arrangements are weak, none of the songs
is more innovate than anything on alternative radio. Vocals throughout
the album always sound the same, and much of the sound is really laid back
and not as hard-rocking as the band promises.
The disappointment begins on the title
track, which leads off the album. Awesome syncopated guitar riffs lead
the listener to think that this is going to be a really rocking song, but
once the vocals kick in, it becomes clear they don't live up to the promise.
The song tells how McNamera and Daly's
football team beat them up because they were the outcasts and looked and
dressed differently than the rest of the team.
"Annie Helicopter" is the most upbeat track,
and the best the album has to offer. With catchy guitar riffs and strong
vocals from beginning to end, the band does a great job of describing how
a bad girl is like a helicopter because she is so hard to keep up with.
A couple of songs on the album are very
descriptive and deal with problems the band has had. "Onward Spaceman"
describes the object of the band's affection and describes her features
in space-like terms.
"Peter 55" describes the time McNamera
told a bouncer that he should let a local band into a club for free. The
band did not even thank him, and rather than taking his anger out on them
by fighting, he wrote one of the tracks for the new album about his experience.
The album ends with a remix of the first
song, "Here on the Outside (Caveman Version)" The only difference between
the two cuts is the absence of the syncopated guitar sounds at the beginning
of the second version.
Tidewater Grain has the ability to be a
really great band, but their brilliance is only shown in flashes on this
Here on the Outside is good, but
it doesn't offer listeners anything they haven't heard before. Perhaps
with time, the band will make an album that will truly showcase its talents.