Remember that movie Footloose with Kevin Bacon? He moves from the city to a small farm community that has somehow forgotten how to rock. At times I’m sure he felt like he had landed in a land that time had stopped. I know how he feels. When you grow up in a small town, or at least if you did before the coming of the global community thanks to the internet, you feel at times as if you are cut off from the rest of the world. While you may have limited access to good music, everyone around you somehow seems okay with the fact that the most recent album they bought was Def Leppard’s Hysteria. I just moved from a large city to a smaller, but booming, Navy town just north of that city. In the city, I felt connected. There was always a show to go to (or at least hear about second hand), always new bands that record store clerks were abuzz about and there was a living pulse of music. Where I am now, I get the feeling that line dancing is “just about to break big” and patriotic country songs are the order of the day. Even in the high schools, where the cutting edge music should be, the kids seem to be under the impression that it is not 2005, but rather 1995. And yet even with all of this, there is no excuse for the Plus Ones.
Joel Reader is the man behind the Plus Ones, a relatively new band out of San Francisco. Formerly the bassist for the punk outfit, the Mr. T Experience, Reader recruited Luis Illades of the gay punk band Pansy Division, and female singer/guitarist Alexis Melnicki to round out the band. Oh Me of Little Faith is the title of their second full-length album, and the best way I can describe it is this: if you take Weezer, remove the tongue-in-cheek humor, make the earnestness slightly uncomfortable, subtract the nerdy fetishes like Dungeons & Dragons, surfing and KISS, and you might come close. Listening to Oh Me of Little Faith is not just like stepping in a time machine and coming out in 1995, it’s like traveling to another dimension where subtlety does not exist.
Do you know how you can just get tired of a band? You may love a particular artist for years but then finally wake up realizing that you just don’t care anymore. Really, when was the last time you put In Utero in the stereo? Honestly, do you ever really listen to Aphex Twin anymore? I have to admit, I didn’t buy the new Weezer record. Why? Because it’s over, people, and the Plus Ones might have swung the death blow. Tight sweaters and confessional lyrics set to a mixture of pop metal and fifties doo-wop harmonies just doesn’t thrill like it used to, I suppose. Songs on the album vary from ones dissing a former lover who turned Christian and got married (“Lost the Plot”), a feeble attempt at post-modernism self-awareness (“Write What You Know”), one about a double suicide that is not remotely funny even though it tries to be (“Suicide Pact (You First)”), a ham-handed nod to bad rap music (“Direct Quote”) and the worst use of the term “irony” since Alanis Morissette (“Irony is Easy”).
I don’t find it at all surprising that the Plus Ones have had a song appear on The O.C.. It is just that type of show, that tries to layer bad soap opera with a veneer of music that is “hip and young” that would find a band like the Plus Ones “fresh.” I realize that I’m in the minority when it comes to that show, and I might be when it comes to this band, but I’ll be damned if I can get over lyrics like “She keeps me warm, but she’s cool, so she’s not the sun.” I shudder even to reproduce it. I’ll tell you what, you’d probably be better off getting the new Weezer album, in fact, I’m sure of it.
Phantom Planet- Phantom Planet
Weezer- Weezer (green album)