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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, August 15, 2022

Giddy, Geddy: Ear candy that's fuel injected and sweet as a Honeydog









Whenever I begin to doubt the rock 'n' roll train is running out of fuel, something comes along that reminds me that the music gods are watching over us all. The talented quartet Fuel powers the rock train with their new progressive rock album entitled Something Like Human, suggesting that rock 'n' roll is not dead, just a little pissed off at its present situation.  




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That said, would all of the anorexic, GQ, make-up laden, photogenic, corporate money slaves, please step aside; would Slim Shady please sit down. Listen and observe Brett Scallion's smooth, harmonic vocals, Jeff Abercrombie's phat-sounding bass, Kevin Miller's virtuoso drums and Carl Bell's bright electric guitar layers in \Hemmorage [in my hands],"" ""Bad Day"" and ""Innocent Yes"" My friend, these boys got bite! 




Their conventional 12-song rock album follows a highly formulaic verse/chorus, power-chord laden structure. Yet being conventional doesn't demean the quality of the final product, especially when sustaining an endangered genre. I have to give it to them for doing what they do and doing it their best. Too many bands attempt to be something they're not; whether it be punk poseurs or hip-hop honkeys, it's easy to tell when someone isn't playing from the heart. Fuel is true to their sound. This band has no identity crisis, they have found their niche and are giving fuel to Mr. Neil Young's prophecy, ""rock 'n' roll will never die."" Whether or not Fuel ""burns out or fades away,"" is hard to say; the longevity of a band is largely up to you.  




Answering the question, ""burn out or fade away,"" I think Fuel will ultimately continue to burn. After all, their strong styled vocals on ""Innocent,"" layered melodic Satriani-sounding guitar riffs that bleed in and out of heavy-biting distortion in ""Prove"" and an energetic assault of drums on ""Down"" exemplify the sound of a developed rock quartet. 




If you are interested in their sound, sick of lip-syncing to photogenic phonies or if you have a twisted leather fetish, a Fuel concert will undoubtedly fulfill all of your wildest needs.  




Fuel will be opening for Kid Rock this Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Way. 










(Palm Pictures) 




The Honeydogs are a rock/country outfit from Minnesota whose latest album, Here's Luck, reveals the band breaking out of their previous alt-country identity and fitting more into a pop/rock mold. 




While faint hints of twang can occasionally be picked up, the main element of the music on Here's Luck that could clue you in on their history is the frequent thigh-slapping appeal of rhythms driven by a collaborative effort between both acoustic and electric guitars. 




But their history is beside the point. Here's Luck is a fresh sounding rock album regardless of who the music is coming  




from. Both catchy and insightful, Here's Luck demonstrates songwriter Adam Levy's adaptability and inventiveness while working in a pop/rock framework. 




There are a handful of songs on Here's Luck that are catchy enough to be popular radio hits, but the Honeydogs do not stop with radio-ready hooks.  




There is not one filler track on Here's Luck, and each song provides an interesting new spin on the conflicting themes of the album. 




Here's Luck is a delicate balance of sadness and hope. Levy's vocals often reveal the gloomier feelings, while the music acts as the counterpoint. Catchy, upbeat songs like ""Red Dye #40"" and ""Losing Transmissions"" sound very lighthearted, yet the words reveal a cryptic message of frustration and loneliness.  




Slower songs like ""The Crown"" offer words of inspiration while not abandoning their downcast ballad sound. 




The music on Here's Luck is complex and multi-layered, yet always tightly controlled. Due to sensitive production and sensible song writing, none of the several instruments overpower the others, and each is integrated in such a way that the song would be incomplete without it. 




Here's Luck offers a healthy variety of songs with many things to keep in mind while listening. By the time the last track is finished, you'll hardly believe that over 45 minutes have elapsed. By the third, fourth and fifth time you reach the last track, you'll hardly believe you missed so much in earlier listens. Here's interesting pop. 




Here's some luck for you ...The Honeydogs will be opening for the Push Stars Feb. 1 at the Annex, 1206 Regent Street. (connected to the Regent Street Retreat) 










(Anthem Records) 




Usually when a band member releases a solo album, it's because he's not getting enough of the spotlight. However, that is not the case with Geddy Lee.  




While the well-known Canadian rock trio Rush took a much needed break (drummer Neal Peart lost both his wife and daughter in the span of a year), singer/bassist Lee decided to see what he could write on his own. Joined by friend Ben Mink and Pearl Jam/Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, My Favorite Headache was the result. The album is surprisingly good.  




Heavy rockers like ""Grace to Grace"" and the title track are better than anything off of Rush's last album, Test for Echo. Lee slows the album down at times for melodic numbers like ""Slipping."" The album's weak points are when Lee is just plain goofy on songs ""Home on the Strange"" and ""Moving to Bohemia.""  




My Favorite Headache features a variety of instruments. Most of these are played by Lee, who seems to be testing his musicianship. Besides bass and vocals, he expands to guitars, piano, percussion and programming. The album also has a lot of strings provided by Mink. It's an interesting mix, a little edgier than Rush, but at the same time not too far from the band's familiar sound.  




Lee also proves he is an accomplished lyricist. In Rush, it's Neil Peart who writes all the lyrics, while Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson focus on the music.  




My Favorite Headache has songs that might be considered ballad, (something that does not happen too much in Rush). In ""Slipping"" Lee sings "" I meant to tell you/tell from the start/meant to show you what's inside this shallow heart."" 




At times Lee's lyrics are not too far off from Peart's. All members of the band are heavily influenced by Ayn Rand and science fiction. On ""The Angel's Share"" these influences come out. Lee writes ""If we are only members of the human race/no supernatural beings from a supernatural place/if you can solve the problem/come and tell me to my face.""  




Though it will be a while before the next Rush album, Lee's first solo attempt definitely helps to pass the time.  


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