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May 23, 2024

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Precious (Dreamworks Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

I'm sorry I missed 'em the first time around on their "Distorted Lullabies" 2001 breakthrough, but "Precious" comes across as a pleasant surprise. Upon skimming then reading the song lyrics, I was left with an impression that Ours is more about substance than style, but I wasn't sure if we were still back to another of these multi-purpose, please everyone and sell millions outfits. In truth, they may sell millions with their catchy, radio ready hooks and sensuous ballads, but they'll leave a felt presence with their music regardless, much like does The Cure or The Church, traversing every emotion before touching upon reality in an ultimately uplifting passage. Jimmy Gnecco, chief lyricist and dominant voice behind the proceedings, goes from croon, to crash, to cosmic the way few often can, adapting from ethereal to earthy to over the edge as the need arises, while they're freshly organic music keeps pace in kind. So "Precious" is foremost an Indie Rock style record with Pop overtones, quaint Gothic underpinnings, and an aural mystique that's again directed towards The Cure, maybe Morrissey, modern era Modern Rock marvels like Must, a less static Deadsy, definitely a whisper of Wallflowers; There's a conscientiousness presiding overall on this record that's comparably favorable to "Joshua"-era U2 and various assorted English beaters. The sleeper hit's undoubtedly their glistening cover of The Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale." On the one hand you're swimming in a sea of dread where something like lead track "Kill The Band" or "Place" and terms like "fright" and "fade to grey" protrude the still vulnerable psyche, then the other, a flame of frivolity lights up the dark for "In A Minute" or the revealing "If Flowers Turn." "Red Colored Stars" is the dynamic closer where the sense left is assuredly one of promise and hope blended well with light acoustics, electric, and inquisitive turned demanding chorus. In an age where many bands are defined more for the immediacy of the next teen anthem, some set loftier goals for a fuller, fancier future.
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