The Phantom Tollbooth

Artist: Bleach
Label: ForeFront Records, 1998
Time: 42:12/12 tracks

This Bleach needs to get dirty.  A combination of funky fuzzed guitars, the odd 70's-ish disco vibe, some electronic noises and sounds a la Smashing Pumpkins and Garbage, and a slightly nasal vocalist. Bleach has all the base components to sell records.  Unfortunately, they never really capitalize on their potential.  The lyrics are, well, typical sub-standard fare--take for instance the the first track, "Static":

Then there's the song "Drive": Now, I cant speak for everybody, but I have serious problems with this song and its implications.  There are such things as noise ordinances, and there are enough idiots out their blasting their radios without adding Christian teens to them.  Bystanders normally cant tell the difference between Slayer and Zao, let alone when its at 120 dB!  The only thing bystanders can tell is that it's annoying and selfish.  

Enough with the lyrics, let's discuss the music.  Almost all of the songs on the album have a happy-bouncy Weezer-esque vibe running through them. Only one song, "RunDown Town," could be considered mellow and introspective.  This is a good song though, combining a strong bass line and some nice guitar riffs with an overall mellow energy.  After this song, however, the band decides not to stop and just rocks right on to the end of
the disc.  The vocals are alright, although I must admit the rough nasal quality of them got to me after a while; there's not a lot of dynamic in that department either.  The production quality of the album is fine, no qualms there.  

Overall, this album strikes me as very generic fluff, just regular pop ear candy coupled with some poor christian lyrics.  Id like to be able to say something off this album caught my ear, but after several listens nothing really stands out.  It just sort of blends together in one long blur.

By Joe Rockstroh