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Welcoming Home the Astronauts
Arist: Flickerstick
Label: Epic
Length: 12 Tracks

I never understood the fascination with watching someone else's life on TV rather than living out your own. But I guess for a rock and roll lifestyle wannabe, watching VH1's "Band's on the Run" series is the closest most fans will ever get to a backstage pass. At least the show was based on real bands rather than pre-packaged bozos (does Eden's Crush or O-Town ring a bell?). 
But let's face it, Flickerstick, living out the rock and roll excess and stirring up as much drama as humanly possible on each VH1 episode, is not the equivalent of being a brilliant band. Obviously, their appearance and first place contest finish on the show had a lot to do with them getting a record contact. Having the music channel kick in the dough to record their "Smile" video, as well as heavily rotate it, couldn't hurt either. "Smile" is about as good as it gets on "Welcoming Home the Astronauts," and that isn't saying much. By the time the track's contrived sense of emotion reaches a climaxing point of interest, the song abruptly ends without resolution. Then there's the typical cookie cutter blend of alternative rock on songs like "Talk Show Host" and the disc's first single "Beautiful." (Anybody remember Tsar or Mars Electric from the cut out bin?). The disc's introspective tracks with acoustic undertones ("Execution by X-mas Lights" and "Coke") fall flat, short of any glory, while the momentum building "Direct Line to the Telepathic" seems like it would best be experienced in a concert setting. Clocking in at nearly nine minutes, the track is far too lengthy on record to hold anyone's interest. 

Andy Argyrakis 3/11/2002



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