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tvfordogs - Heavy Denver (wampus)

Hands up who remembers the Stone Temple Pilots debut. You know, the one that sounded like a greatest hits of grunge with the band turning out impressions of all the big names of the grunge scene. Neil Luckett of tvfordogs says that they are among his favourite songwriters, which says a lot.

To be fair, "Heavy Denver" isn't quite the same thing, it's got more of its own personality than the STP album, but there is a similar kind of magpie feel about it. While there is a strong grunge influence on the album, they also dip into the pre-grunge sound of Husker Du and the post-grunge sound of the Foo Fighters. There is a strong level of musical ability about the band, but they unfortunately seem stuck in a sound currently, bar the Foo Fighters themselves, very much out of fashion.

Opener 'Patient pilgrim' comes across like one of Husker Du's quieter moments, strong melodic vocals and serious drumming going on. 'FAQ' is more Soundgarden influence, again, concentrating on the more melodic, less rocking sounds of that band. The opening piano sound of 'Capsule wardrobe' could have come from a Sonic Youth track, until they break into a more Pearl Jam/Soundgarden type sound, again the slow and melodic sound.

When they do rock out, like on 'To be the first', it initially comes across like the wordy sounds of Bad Religion, but the messy chorus sounds more like a second rate Foo Fighters (which is saying something). But, in the main, they stick to the more emotive and melodic sounds that threaded the scene, from Husker Du in their later stages (and subsequent solo work of Bob Mould and Grant Hart), the Temple of the Dog grunge "supergroup" project, Alice in Chains acoustic stuff, etc.

It's well played and Neil's a great singer, but it's a dated sound. Not that, in the current climate of the garage rock and metal revivals, that's a major negative, but their sound is one that's very much out of fashion. Maybe in a year or so, we'll see a grunge revival, but for the moment, tvfordogs are ten years too late.

Donnacha DeLong

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