It’s no surprise that in the wake of the success of garage-ist media darlings (the Strokes, etc.) that the major labels would be falling over one another to sign next week’s mop-headed garageland superheroes to hype, market and sell as their very own.
Enter Loudermilk — my pick for the worst band name of 2002 — four tailor-made scruffs whose mod mullets, logo and overall appearance screams garage-mod for dollars.
All monikers aside, what about the tunes?
None are found within the grooves. While sometimes a contradiction of a band’s look and sound can be exciting and thrilling (anyone remember the Last?), in this case it smells more like a musical bait and switch. Any modern garage hipster looking at this album and expecting to find something akin to the Makers will recoil in horror when they discover that one casual listen triggers bad MTV flashbacks of those awful, disjointed Faith No More videos. Mix in some sub-par alternative ’90’s power ballads and you have the shtick. Band members namedrop the Crue and Guns N’ Roses (and also Tricky and Grand Funk!) but this album lacks any of the carefree rock ’n’ roll party fun that those bands oozed.
Throw in an ill-advised Björk cover (“California”) and The Color Red is a fun-free rockist turd. The song titles — from “Kreates A Presence To Blush,” to the downright ludicrous “Estrogen Oxygen Aches In The Teeth Again” — go to great lengths to tell you where these guys are coming from.
Hearing guitarist/howler Davey Ingersoll wax poetic about the complex meanings of the color red rings a familiar bell of another popular garage band harboring a red fetish. And while its understandable for a band to not want to be lumped into any one genre, there appear to be far too many bands these days trying to play all sides of the fence. Whatever happened to the passion and conviction of knowing who you really are and the very rock ’n’ roll idea of embracing your limitations?
“Our next album could be country, you never know,” says Ingersoll in the band’s bio. There’s a comforting thought. Dunno if the kids are alright, but they sure appear to be confused.
E-mail Ricky Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org.