Electric Poem - The Crystal Mind

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Genterine Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:00:00

The vast hordes of loyal readers scavenging the world for my opinions on music are as real as flying dinosaurs with alien brains and laser guns hovering over Tokyo. Actually, the hordes are less likely to ever happen. Therefore, only a couple of people will be familiar with Cobweb Strange through reviews of yours truly, while you, the curious visitor, might or might not, all according to previous experience. Well, this isn?t exactly Cobweb Strange, and save for the inclusion of "On With The Show," one of the more lackluster tunes from that band?s third album, it is quite easy to tell. Why? Simple. Electric Poem, despite sharing four members with the spidery outfit, is so far removed from any semblance of progressive metal, or just metal for that matter, that any comparison would be ludicrous. In other words, Electric Poem and Cobweb Strange are as similar as Richard Simmons and Darth Vader. Ok, fine, both Simmons and Vader are utterly evil, but you get my point.

The Crystal Mind hovers in a time period that passed by well over a decade, its spirit mostly rooted in a tradition led by the Pixies and adorned with other assembled goodies from Eighties pop fare; all topped by a crooner with a raspy voice, an obvious admiration for Jim Morrison, and a lyrical stance drawn straight out from hippie love-drenched stylings. Doesn?t sound progressive? It?s because it isn?t. And Electric Poem sure as hell isn?t trying to be. This is a pop / rock album that equally deals out Pixies-like angst, texture-oriented moodiness, good old rocking, and a couple of Doors-inspired moments. It also has a good deal of potential that is left unexplored, most of it to be found in a good quantity of catchy hooks and riffs. Not to mention the rhythm section. Bassist Wade Summerlin and drummer Soumen Talukder are in top form, delivering solid groove after solid groove like it?s what they eat for breakfast. And lunch. And ? alright, alright, so you get my point again.

So where?s the catch? Well, most of it can be broken down into three principal elements. One: The production is disappointingly thin, which is a no-no for a band with a style such as Electric Poem's. Two: Thomas Luke's vocals are usually quite good in their mid and low registers, but strain audibly beyond that. Three: Flawed songwriting. Stop. Don't leave. Flawed songwriting does not mean that Electric Poem's songs equal Nitro's debut, once considered unanimously the worst heavy metal album to ever be released. It means, for starters, that a good number of songs on the album, "Love Cemetery" and "Emotion" in particular, could have stood to be shortened. Most importantly however, it means that some structural decisions weren't the best ones. What? You want me to speak English? Sure. Simply put, some parts in certain songs could have been done without, and certain repetitions of material seem pointless, of which "Easy" is a prime example, the song simply going on for a bit too long.

Good potential remains good potential, however, and thus there are definitely some tasty morsels to be found in Electric Poem's debut. "Easy" is a pretty good kicker for the most part, and the opening "Trouble With Troubadours" is quite the infectious opener. The prize goes to "Poet's Rage" though; a Doors-inspired retro stomp that benefits enormously from Brandi Byrum's dead-on keyboard playing. Such morsels, along with the band's obvious ability of writing good parts, have this particular reviewer with high hopes for the group's future. After all, if Summerlin managed to capitalize on Cobweb Strange's potential after two albums that weren't quite there yet, why shouldn't he be able to do the same with Electric Poem?

Similar artists: The Pixies, The Doors

Trouble With Troubadours (3:20) / A.D. (0:45) / Easy (4:50) / On With The Show (6:41) / Sexual Crime (4:49) / On The Moon (4:40) / Love Cemetery (6:10) / What Dreams May Come (4:49) / Wanna Fly (4:23) / Poet's Rage (6:01) / Emotion (4:56) / Hell Of A Show (2:36)

Thomas Luke - vocals
Wade Summerlin - bass, acoustic guitar
Holly Williams - guitar
Brandi Byrum - keyboards
Soumen Talukder - drums

The Crystal Mind (2003, rec. 2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.electricpoem.com
Hits: 1109
Language: english


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