For me, the inheritance of a new CD is often an exciting and highly anticipated process, especially when I don’t have much previous knowledge of the featured musical artists. I put the CD into my Walkman, wondering if this will become one of my new favorites, and if I will subsequently have to spend many of my days hungrily awaiting concerts and new CDs featuring these musical talents. And as delighted as I may be to discover that my new CD does in fact meet my eager hopes, I also experience a rather high level of disappointment and sadness when it does not. In the case of New England Roses, I anticipated greatness upon hearing their comparisons to Pinback and reading their lineup of supposed talent: JD Samson (Le Tigre), Sarah Shapiro, and Brendan Fowler (BARR). However, sadly enough, their Face Time With Son manages to land a bit short of greatness, and falls more accurately into the category of mediocre.
New England Roses’ higher quality songs are “Blood Blood Blood,” which projects some heart with its amiable melody, and “The Good Wife,” which represents a more substantial and mature sound. However, the majority of the songs on this disc have slightly less desirable qualities. “These Days,” “All for the Night,” “Broken Heart,” “Candy (version),” and “LoveSong” are repetitive, ungrounded, and rather boring at times, lacking an overall solidifying factor that could otherwise bring the band to a higher level of excellence. New England Roses could be compared to Pinback in their steady percussive beats, but that unfortunately is where the comparison ends. The album inclusively reflects Le Tigre (fitting, with Samson in the band), but instead of creating an original sound drawn from Samson’s influences, the band instead sounds undeveloped and stilted. In fact, “Kids in the City” sounds so much like a typical Le Tigre creation that it could actually qualify as a rip-off. Appropriately enough, two of their actual cover songs (Dave Matthews Band’s “Dancing Nancies” and George Michael’s “Faith”) are also limp and uninspiring. To New England Roses’ benefit, the best song is in fact their last song – “Revolution” is a multilayered and confident cover of the Tracy Chapman song, leaving the listener with a slightly more positive view of the band’s efforts and talents.
Essentially, New England Roses demonstrates plenty of potential in their endeavors as a band. The three musicians have real talent and fortitude; however, their efforts in Face Time With Son are rather overzealous, leaving the potentially admirable qualities of the album falling short. When the music is quiet, it lacks tone, and when it’s disjointed, it sounds unpleasant and insipid. Simply put, the New England Roses are trying too hard to sound original, and instead fail to leave any real impression. Hopefully, future attempts by the band will prove less disappointing and more reflective of the members’ true talents.
Pinback – Pinback
Le Tigre – Feminist Sweepstakes
Kaia – Kaia