No.3 - Four Star Mary – Thrown to the Wolves – 4.5/5
Along with Maggot Brain, this is another that breaks the mould for what to expect from this genre. Being catchy and ‘poppy’ like the softer alternatives, whilst retaining that rasped rock vocals, and a slight grunge drawl and upbeat melody, they embody a sort of balance between the two extremities within the genre. Swaying from side to side with the more aggressive “Never Mind” or slowing down for “Dark Sky,” never straying into that generic image of what post-grunge should sound like.
It is this unique aspect that leads a variety of tones, allowing it to stray from sounding too full of teenage angst, appealing to the side of me that enjoys slow and emotional tracks, with upbeat and interesting chorus lines to latch on to and draw you in. The guitars tend to have two layers to them, the clean chords, and a more distorted simple riff, which often successfully adds to the atmosphere. The drums spend most of their time creating a framework, though are heard fairly well, and lend a little variety to the sound created, doing more than just keeping a basic beat. The bass adds to this framework in a simplistic but effective manner for the rest of the band to build upon, along with creating a thick atmospheric tone during the more hard rock inspired passages. The vocals finish of the performance with a good range of tones, from the more aggressive to the despair filled.
The strength of this album lies in their ability to wield their instrument in an effective manner, and create a variety of emotional tones, filled with atmosphere, interesting riffs, and lyrics that are damn hard not to sing along to. When such a variety presents itself, naturally preferences will arise, but the simple fact is there is nothing weak on this album. Even the ‘weak’ tracks put most bands to shame. This is not one I expect most reading this to enjoy, but no question in my mind, this is one of the unsung gems of the post-grunge genre.
Highlights: Thrown the Wolves, Never Mind, Run
By T Bawden