Cafebar 401 – Self/Titled (CD)

Playing a style of rock that mixes together the smoothed-out vocals of Matthew Good with a Geddy Lee-style of voice and scruffy-distorted guitars, Cafebar 401 strikes at the heart of many a listener with their first salvo, “Full-pro Disco”. Slowing down the tempo but not removing the strong bass presence during “Many Left Here Long Before”, Cafebar 401 play a track that is the equivalent of a monotone – flat, arbitrary and without anything memorable in the way of hooks. Starting off with a stutter-step played out elegantly by the drums, “Senses Working Overtime” falls into the radio-rock dustbin fairly quickly. The light-dark dichotomy of the vocals and the dark-screech of the guitars make for a track that drones on slightly too long, breaking three and a half minutes where a more succinct track may have succeeded.

“Something Worth Dying For” follows up in the same anemic bent that the vast majority of this disc has found itself. No furor surrounds Tije’s vocals, and the guitar assaults laid down by Dennis and Tije are just not soulful enough to push this disc to the next plateau. Starting out slowly, “Troubles” a track led by a middle-of-the-road piano line and faceless vocals that mesh Robbie Williams, John Maher, and Elton John into a forgettable mash. The Oasis-style droning of the guitar line doesn’t increase in any way the impact of the disc, and Cafebar 401 finds themselves flagging only halfway through the disc. Finally finding the best mix of seventies American rock and a more current alternative flair, “Bob Ross on Drugs” is a fairly non-descript track that has that pep that is sorely lacking on the rest of the disc.

Continuing their momentum on “2 am”, the muted guitar-lines stifle the track from reaching its full potential, creating a form of compression that holds back Tije’s vocals. Brooding, creating an atmosphere radically different from anything else found on the disc is “Today”, using Matijin’s bass. The synthesizer provides the perfect mechanical flow to the earthy tones of the bass. The sappy violins found on “Using Few Words” are beyond melodramatic and detract from what could have been an innovative track, both in terms of different arrangements and overall sounds. Cafebar 401 is an act that never starts on the right foot, and this disc shows time and time again a band that just was not ready to release a full disc.

Rating : 3.6/10

Top Tracks: Today, Full-pro Disco

Cafebar 401 – Self/Titled / 2004 Wampus Multimedia / 12 Tracks / http://www.wampus.com / http://www.wampus.com/artists/cafebar401 / Reviewed 26 October 2004

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