Epic - Local World News
VH-1’s ‘Bands On The Run’ rocked. Remember the show? It followed 5 bands of varying genres around the country, making them jump through the requisite reality television hoops, allowing them to play for sparse audiences more intent on seeing their mugs on cable television than probably professing any real interest in the band’s music. All the while, exploits, arguments, highs and lows were captured to be replayed later for mass appeal.
The contest’s winner, Flickerstick, won a recording contract a total gear upgrade and some higher-profile bookings. Alas, they couldn’t capitalize on their 15 minutes of fame and they are wrongly relegated to be a reality-television footnote.
But Flickerstick was a good band. Great, I dare say. Their pre-recording contract demo was surprisingly well-done and the lives shows in which they sold the material were even better. They were a no-nonsense rock n’ roll band from the south with an albums worth of good songs and little else.
My point is this. If Flickerstick couldn’t reach that next level with all the publicity of being on a cable television music channel every week, sometimes replayed 3 times a week while out on tour, what hope does Blue Epic have?
Hailing from Alabama, Blue Epic are of the same ilk as Flickerstick. A straight ahead rock band with an emo-type singer and some nice songs. Emphasis on some. Their full-length LP, “Local World News” showcases vocalist/guitarist Phillip Roberson’s indie- rock sensibilities to varying degrees of success. But “...News” is hamstrung by lack of production as well as too much filler material. Songs don’t distinguish themselves from one another sonically and that leads to a boring trek through 12 tracks of material to find the goodies.
That’s not to say that Blue Epic aren’t doing some things right. “Fast Car” is as compelling a straight up rock anthem as anything Driving & Crying ever released. And the melancholy “Let Me Down” should be a staple in Billy Corgan’s iPod. But overall, the album has the feel of a college band doing their best Toad The Wet Sprocket meets Tim Buckley to impress the sensitive sorority babes. More mature material may be to come, from Phillip and the boys, but the overwhelming majority of the songs here ain’t.
But here’s hoping the old adage “The South
Will Rise Again” proves true.