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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

(the) Hatters - You Will Be You

Band: The Hatters
Album: You Will Be You
Year: 1995
Style: Jam Band, Alternative
Similar Bands: Animal Bag, "Real Thing" FNM, Collective Soul, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveller, Barenaked Ladies, Flowerhead
"One-Word" Review: filthy-smug-hippie-jams
Based Out Of: NYC
Label: Atlantic, WEA International, Time Warner
You Will Be You - Cover & Liner Pics
You Will Be You - Liner Notes & Lyrics & Tape

You Will Be You (1995)
  1. Dive 3:13
  2. Where the Wind 3:55
  3. The Naked Song 4:13
  4. Statues 4:25
  5. Colors 4:10
  6. Yeah Bloom 6:52
  7. I'll Walk 8:01
  8. Skyline 5:09
  9. Supermarket Pony 4:04
  10. Underfrog 5:50
  11. Joy Ride 3:31
  12. You Will Be You 11:28
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Adam Hirsh - vocals, guitar (Ahab)
Adam Evans - guitar, vocals
Billy Jay Stein - keyboards, vocals (Strange Cranium)
Jon Kaplan - bass
Tommy Kaelin - drums, Rhythm (Famous Unknown, Gent Treadly, Dreamspeak, Gravity, Ahab, Michael Parrish Band)
Joe Bonadio - Percussion
Peter Denenberg - Backing Vox, Producer, Engineer, Mixing, Water Bottle
Larry Freemantle - Art Direction
John Halpern - Cover Art
Jesse Harris - Acoustic Guitar (Once Blue, Bright Eyes)
Ted Jensen - Mastering
Thom Leinbach - Recording, Engineering
Rory Young - Cello, Sitar
Mbzuki Batswami - Quica
Captain Cranium - Bass
Chunky J - drums
Peter Malkin - Management
David Sonenberg - Management
Wendy Berry - A&R Management
Janet Billig - A&R Management
Nick Ferrara - Legal Advice
Sonjay Kothari - Photography
Danny Clynch - Photography
Stuart Cottingham - Logo

Unknown-ness: I don’t remember when or why I bought this tape. For some reason I think that I thought that they were a ska band. But now, after a little research, I realized they were quite different: a jam band. "Oh man, this is gonna suck" I thought as I began putting this entry together. So why would I have ever bought this? I cannot tell, as even the cover art is kinda lame. The only redeeming quality is the font. Kind of. This is going to be bad, especially if i'm heading into this review with a negative feeling.

Album Review: “Dive” starts with heavy metal guitars. The vocals are similar to Patton’s Real Thing era forced nasally vocals. And this style was used in bands like Animal Bag and other dirty alternative bands of the time. But the verse is almost catchy, in a collective soul way, better than I thought it would be. “Where the Wind” sounds like a terrible Dave Matthews Ballad. It has this holier than thou feel to it, and a snotty, hippie at peace feel to it. It is kinda new age with the piano and light groove. It treads near Hootie and the Blowfish territory as it builds toward the chorus. This is a terrible cringe-worthy song. I’d feel embarrassed if someone were to walk buy and hear this song playing. Damn, the bad band comparisons keep coming. “The Naked Song” sounds like Barenaked Ladies mixed with Blues Traveler. Its all in the vocals, which have lost all potential of being interesting from the first song, and now are run-of-the-mill nasally, grating “yeaahooow” vocals. The chorus is a harmless “take off your clothes, put your birthday suit on” not much more else is needed to be said. I can just picture a band of filthy people kicking around in the dust frolicking and spacing out as this band wastes everyone’s time. Okay, the momentum in “Statues” is pretty good, a bit of Dinosaur Jr guitars, but then the vocals come in and hack the song apart. Well, the hook is not too bad in the chorus. But it is the music here, the driving drums, guitars and bass that keep this song going, unlike typical jam band songs. Piano introduces “Colors” and it is a terrible adult alternative nu-jazzy type piano, and the vocals have that jam band country hickish John Popper style to them that just sucks. It has that smug care-freeness that nothing matters in the world. This is usually a nice way to live or think, but it is the underlying smugness that really makes it feel offensive, if that makes any sense. “Yeah Bloom” starts with a good dark alternative jammy groove, and then the vocals scratch across the song. It fits into the style from bands like Flowerhead back in the mid 90’s “Singles” scene, but it is dated and reminds me why I did not enjoy the Blues Traveler scene back then. This long song has a breakdown that stretches to the end of the song with soaring anthemic guitars that transform into lead metal solos and the piano is played with the same chord over and over again like an alarm.

“I'll Walk” reminds me of U2, with its early morning waking atmosphere. It feels like it will take an hour to finish the song. The chorus sounds like the Steve Miller Band’s “Take the Money and Run.” And it ends with a 30 second fade out with a Middle Eastern vibe. “Skyline” I want to say that this reminds me of Joe Cocker and the Allman Brothers, but I cannot really verify that…I don’t know either Cocker or the Allman Brothers that well. This is a light song that feels like it should have come from the early 70’s, except it is modernized with fuzzed out guitars. Their choice of grand piano sound seems to not be a good choice for a streamlined sound. Even thought I dislike the music, I see what style they are going for. But the piano takes that style and makes it feel like muzak. The funky 70’s jam rock song “Supermarket Pony” sounds much better than the other songs. It is much more like the first song “Dive.” It mixes in the fast singing, rap-rock-metal genra that MTV tried to pin on FNM a few years earlier. The piano is played here and it is much better, jazzy, and it adds to, rather than subtracts from the song. The only problem is that the song should end after about 2:45, but it goes on for another 1:15 of jamming guitar work and echoing chorus. Sloppy sounding guitars introduce “Underfrog.” It is a combination of stoner metal and jam alternative, again popularized in the early mid 90’s with tie-dye and dirty flannel. After what seems like the song will just go in one direction endlessly, the songs breaks pattern and creates a more funky section for the chorus. But it reverts back to the tedious storytelling song pattern, and see-saws back and forth between the two sections. It also adds a spacey-psychedelic new age section that lingers on from about 3:30 minutes for a minute until the chorus is brought back one time more. The song ends with evil crazed laughter cackling. “Joy Ride” could only be described as funky DMB jam music. And this is not a good thing. This song feels like filler, like it was part of a song idea they just fleshed out into a long jam. “You Will Be You” is introduced with a gospel organ and whining guitar. It breaks down into a funky beat and continues on with uncharted vocal range. There are some nice tempo changes and grooves, but the song comes in as an 8 minute song only meant to prove they are a jam band. The guitar lick is catchy, and I could see how it could be played to infinitum. The only problem is that the very catchy groove only lasts for two lines. And the rest of the song that builds around it is not as interesting. The tinkling piano duels it out with the much cooler organ, which obviously wins. But the duel is just part of the long stretching jam to add minutes onto the song, and take years of off your life. The song returns to the chorus for one measure and dives back into the jamming drone that is just so damn tedious. The guitar goes on for the last two minutes, and I don’t feel like giving more of my time to this song.

Stand Out Track: Dive

Links:
allmusic

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