Guys have a hard time of it, in this world. We're not allowed to show any kind of emotion, in our daily lives, without being branded as weak and whiny. Of course, we then perpetuate the cycle by inflicting those standards on the rest of the world's inhabitants, but that's another story.
Guys are expected to hold everything in, to explode at a later date. In the best case circumstance, dudes save up these emotions to be expelled in a small handful of male-approved activities - usually sports, hunting, or some kind of thrill ride. Basically anything where you get to see people get hurt, watch stuff blow up, and see huge hunks of heavy metal hurtling at concrete at near-astronomical speeds.
Thankfully, music is on the list of acceptable releases, so there's an outlet other than downhill mountain biking or invading small countries. Frankly, I personally don't care much for Not Inpublic's stripped-down arena-style glam metal rock 'n roll, but I will defend their right to play it to the death.
Not Inpublic's debut is not bad, by any stretch of the imagination. First of all, let me lead with my reviewer's bias that I'm not a big fan of Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana work with the Foo Fighters. It's too middle-of-the-road for me. I'd rather go with straight Grunge, if I'm looking for weird, drug-addled working class rage, or Power Pop or Straight Pop if I want good time feel good music.
I'm not a big fan of the Yarbling, alternative rock-style of vocals made popular by Disturbed or Puddle Of Mudd. I'm not a fan of '80s hair metal, either. I feel like there's this back and forth between the underground and mainstream culture, where the mainstream takes the cutting edge of extreme music and rolls it around like a rock tumbler, until you're left with a highly-polished and refined version of the experimental variant. Consider Tool for an example of this.
As a permanent resident of the extreme music underground, it just doesn't do it for me. I am reminded of what Jevovah was reported as seeing, in Revelations 3:16, "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." But it is my job to listen through my biases, reporting on the record itself, as it might be received by its intended audience. I'd say, if you like the Foo Fighters, or other skeins of polished Grunge like Alice In Chains, you're likely to be humming along with catchy tracks like "Dead To Me".
Instrumental prowess makes you lean in and listen harder, however, making you realize there is more going on than meets the eye. Razor-sharp, lightning fast drum fills on "Big Rig" is the first moment when I wondered "Who the hell are these guys?" Unfortunately, the lyrics are all about truck driving. I'm sure there will always be a place for long hauls and big rigs in rock 'n roll. I'm just not the best audience and, if I was in a manic truck-driving music mood, I'd probably go with something like Southern Culture On The Skids or Hank Williams III.
But that's just one stand-out musical moment, alerting us to the fact that Vancouver's Not Inpublic ARE a talented and committed group of musicians. There will always be a place for this style of blue collar, working class rage rock 'n roll, as long as there is an economy, basically. Or as long as guys are restraining all of their emotions and instincts. It's much better than dropping dead of cancer or a heart attack.
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