What horseshit. Any disc that opens with the line “Close the door and drift away/Into a sea of uncertainty” should immediately be ejected from the car stereo and Frisbee-whizzed out the window into a sea of freeway traffic. In fact, this slice of solipsistic bombast (their third LP), goofy tempo changes (read: “epic” arrangements) and predictable alt nods (Sonic Youth? Check.) make the band this year’s (dear god!) Wishbone Ash, down to the ancient sentry cover imagery. Singer Conrad Keely’s croak might betray earnestness, but it’s the affected schoolyard prose that gets us howling, particularly when it’s stroked by real string orchestrations and a choir — the band gets 2112 trillion Rush points for working the words “implausible” and “diatonically” into pop tunes. The title song nearly delivers album redemption, but the lyrics are as childishly bewildered by pop culture excess as are the song’s fey prog tendencies and occasional lucky pop blossom. “Classic Arts Showcase” says it all: It shows three beef-jowled gents from Texas equipped with enough pomp and drama to make a tranny hairdresser wriggle, which, ultimately, just might appease the Rush fan in your old man. And, yes, the band will be playing “Stonehenge” tonight.
Brian Smith is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].