John Doe was the bassist and one of the vocalists in X, who
were a great punk band back in the day. Later X evolved into
a more folksy rock band with strong lyrics and incredible singing.
In this, John Doe's third solo album in the post-X world, he
continues that tradition of "less punk, more rock", this time
adding a little bit of the blues into the mix.
The result is a very traditional rock album, not seeping in
the angst of his youth, but instead possessing a mature confidence
of his ability to play while acknowledging a vaguely melancholy
viewpoint on the world.
This might sound boring, but it's not. I mean, a lot of the
normal rock that i hear on the radio in friends' cars just bores
me to tears. This album doesn't. What is the difference?
I think it's this: John Doe is a suberb lyricist and a wonderful
singer. His songs aren't just about the "guitar solos", instead
there is actual substance to them. He's almost a country singer
-- real songs about real life. But done with an honesty and
an integrity which set it above the rest of the cheesey schlock
that i hear.
For example, consider Someday / No Day. The guitarwork
in this song reaches Night Ranger levels of hysteria in the
middle, but John Doe's soulful crooning grounds the song, brings
it back to reality, and makes it enjoyable. This is a good song
to play loud on your car stereo while driving on a sunny afternoon.
Also noteworthy is the track A Picture Of This which
features what sounds like sampled or programmed rhythms and
John Doe singing in a slightly affected style that reminds me
of some mid-80's act that i just can't pin down. Add in the
swirling guitars and you have one fine tune.
So i give this album 4 sponges because it breaks no real ground,
but it does what it does quite well. If you are a fan of John
Doe, X, or rock in general, then this should provide you with
some good listening.