Angus Clark – Grace Period (CD)

While Angus’ vocals really start off “Grace Period” with a sort of wonderful weariness that was a hallmark of Warren Zevon’s later works, the clean, adult contemporary brand of rock presented during “Lost In You” is purely Angus’. For those fans that want the majesty of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, this is perhaps some of the farthest music from this. Tracks like “So Frustrated” are tremendously restrained, and while the songs on “Grace Period” all have some form of catchiness inherent in them, they are just not of the same ilk as Angus’ last act. There are some stylistic nods to Angus’ last act, but much like Ronnie James Dio’s later attempt to recall eir heyday (“Push”), everything seems moderated by the aging process.

There are hints of acts like Judas Priest during “Say It”, but the prior restraint mentioned on the disc does a lot to keep this track back from the glory that could be achieved. In Angus’ credit, the bass/guitar solo that is a precursor to the ending of “Say It” is quick and intense, but does not have the spontaneity that made Judas Priest’s brand of rock so salient. Pemberton Roach’s bass comes through in a strong way again during “Leaving Today”, but the track really has Angus meandering through a Beatles/Lenny Kravitz type of rock. This style is topped by Angus trying to call forth a set of vocals reminiscent of Chris Cornell, but there seems to be too much of a sheen on this track to really connect to the average listener. Sure, this is a radio-friendly track but the human aspect is largely lost.

Interestingly enough, Angus makes a shameless ploy to win the hearts of the frat creatures during eir track “Tried To Let You Go”, which seemingly draws from a large corpus of sixties and seventies rock while failing to put anything new and exciting into the mix. Much like Tony Pica, the effort during the track, the sound may be hard to top but the motions seem hollow; this has been done often before. While the faster, electrified sound of “September” seems to show Angus on the cusp of breaking into a harder-hitting, more sincere style, individuals are left with much of the same sound as Clark desperately tried to elicit sympathy for eir music by constructing something vaguely appropriate for the legions of Weezer-kids. Simply put, there are eleven cuts that would fit perfectly on popular radio, but there just does not seem to be that same sort of experimentation that made Trans-Siberian Orchestra such an innovative act.

Top Tracks: September, Say It

Rating: 5.1/10

Angus Clark – Grace Period / 2004 Self Released / 11 Tracks / http://www.angusclark.com / Reviewed 06 November 2005

[JMcQ]

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