Thursday, November 29, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 68


Butterfly Jones flutters between flowery lyrics and sweet melodies

By Ellen Simonson
Daily Cougar Staff

Right from the start, the lyrics on Butterfly Jones' debut album Napalm Springs jump out at the listener.

This band uses the phrases "campground of my soul," "ashes of desire" and "like blackened doves in the wind" in the same verse of the first

It's the price you pay for some of the better verbal constructions on the album, though -- the same song, "Napalm Springs," contains the words,
"My mind is always racin'/ Through the gutters of your neighborhood in the stars." Not too bad.

Butterfly Jones as a band sounds like a lot of things. A little Red Hot Chili Peppers, a little Soundgarden, a little Guns 'N' Roses -- look for the
influence of just about any seminal rock band and chances are you'll hear traces of it on Napalm Springs.

The album often ends up sounding like a palatable but occasionally boring mix of rock greats, but its occasional moments of originality are
striking enough to compensate.

The band has a talent for catchy choruses -- "Napalm Springs" and "Anywhere but Now" are good examples. The latter has a solid pop-rock,
matchbox twenty-ish chorus, is easy to sing along to and vaguely evocative of some sort of powerful emotion (and therefore primed for

The love songs on Napalm Springs are generally not as good lyrically as the others. "Sophie" features the lyrics, "You are a star that burns too
fast/ I'm so afraid that you won't last." And "Please" has lyrics so simple they're almost inane -- "Please come back to me/ I need you/ I need you/
Please come back to me/ I'm so blue/ I'm so blue."

Both these songs are much more appealing when you focus on the music -- "Sophie" is a catchy modern rock track, and the plaintive, acoustic
sound of "Please" makes the lyrics a little more palatable. They're not bad songs, but again, the occasional overdone metaphor or
melodramatic phrase balances out the lyrical successes on Napalm Springs.

A highlight of the album is the mellow "It's Cool Dude," which tells the story of a girl who likes to party: "Leopard eyes and orange streaks/
People say that she's a freak/ Well I don't know but when she speaks/ It's cool dude." The song goes on to subtly condemn this kind of
nonchalance: "Sleepin' days workin' nights/ Sweepin' floors fluorescent lights/ Her dreams are drifting out of sight/ But it's cool dude."

An unusual and well-done song on Napalm Springs is "The Systematic Dumbing Down of Terry Constance Jones." The song, full of crunchy
guitars and subtle Moogs, tells the story of a smart woman who sells out: "She used to be a chemist/ Now she wants to be a clone/ With all her
magazines and TV queens/ she still feels so alone " It's one of the catchiest songs on the album; the singer reels off a list of utterly shallow
concerns quickly and nimbly over escalating guitars and drums.

A striking thing about Butterfly Jones is its portrayal of women. Besides "Terry Constance Jones" and "It's Cool Dude," "Blue Roses" celebrates
the unconventional female with its description of "Summer girls with strings of pearls/ Dancing on the moon/ Taunting boys with wanting toys/
To pop their red balloons" before remarking, "But not my girl Ain't it funny how things change."

The band's ability to sound like a catchy compendium of several popular acts works against it most of the time. Butterfly Jones sounds better
when it's being itself, on songs like "Terry Constance Jones" and "Please."

Overall, Napalm Springs is an interesting album. The music is occasionally brilliant and occasionally mediocre; the lyrics are sometimes
striking and sometimes almost painful. When it slips up, it's hard to listen to, but when both elements come together well, Butterfly Jones is a
surprisingly good band.

Butterfly Jones

Napalm Springs

*** (out of five stars)

Vanguard Records

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