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Eat Off the Vines
Artist: The Commons 
Label: Independent
Length: 11/50:27

The Commons are a four piece band out of New Jersey that have nothing common about them: every song on this CD reminds me of someone different.  Keith Monacchio's vocals are very difficult to pin down, while the band's sound ranges from southern rock to 80's alternative to an ethereal Pink Floyd/Queensryche sound.

"Fall" sounds like the Police musically, and Seven Mary Three vocally.  "Eat Off the Vines" is reminiscent of The Call, while "Snake Charmer" is a driving, guitar-led song with a style all its own.  "On Father's Day" is a cross between Semisonic and Phil Collins; while "Mini-War" and "Inches" could be Blues Traveler outtakes.  

"Unfulfilled" could be the story of Ecclesiates summed up in 3 ½ minutes: the singer is searching for himself and for happiness, and has tried any number of different things to fill the hole within himself, but to no avail. "Break, Bend & Waver" shows someone struggling with giving in to the habits that betray them, and  that he longs to change: "I'm gonna smash my image" the singer declares/pleads.

Tom Kale (drums), Tom McDonald (bass), and Sean Glonek (guitar) combine with Monacchio's vocals to make a straight ahead, no holds barred, pull no punches, rock album.  As subtle as a punch in the stomach, Eat Off the Vines works on that level that brings out the aggressive part of us ­ it's not angry rock, but it's close.  And the vocals? Let's just say I heard Seven Mary Three, John Hiatt, Phil Collins, John Popper (Blues Traveler), Mac Powell (Third Day), and Ozzy Osbourne at different intervals.  

Brian A. Smith  25 March 2002



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