Classic Case – Dress to Depress (CD)

There seems to be more of a mixture of current rock with the emo sound that is prevalent; what results is a band that does not alienate a high amount of their listeners right from the start of the disc. Tracks like “Hospitalized” are high-energy romps that take some of the shrill guitar work of bands like Converge and insert them with the looking-back, hair-bandish solos of bands like Brand New to create something very radio-friendly.

Further tracks like “Sweet Alibi” continue this general sound, but do not really come forth as quite the radio-ready singles as previous tracks have been. There is a nice dynamic between the guitar solos and the authoritative drumming during the track, but tracks like this and “Elegy” really fail to excite listeners. In fact, “Elegy” uses the same power-ballad structure that was all the rage in the waning days of hair-metal; hints of Mr. Big and Extreme can both be heard in the impassioned pleas of lead vocalist Jared. What Classic Case really bring to the forefront is a general sound that is like a 300-lb linebacker; everything is so intense that a listener will not be able to get up until well after the album completes. “One One Three Four” finally breaks out of the general formula that the band has laid out, opting to really challenge listeners with a dense, innovative arrangement rather than the somewhat-simplistic fare that dominate the disc. Another lighter track in “Down And Out” vacillates between sa nuanced, slower tempo and something resembling earlier Faith No More; the eclectic sound of the track really diversifies the disc in its later stages. The coy vocals of Jared during “Guilty Pleasure” add another dimension to Classic Case’s music by switching the impetus of harmony from the instrumentation to the vocals.

What results is a track that is even more dense than anything else that preceded it; some guitar work approximates the solid sound of a synthesizer while the use of time signatures really will titillate listeners. Even if it does take listeners a little more time to properly get into “Guilty Pleasure”, it is obvious by the end of the track that Classic Case has a hit on their hands. There is really nothing lack on “Dress to Depress” but there is nothing that really is an instant classic on this disc. This means that while all of the tracks are solid, the lack of tracks in the second level (those radio/video hits) will keep the band from realizing their true fanbase.

Top Tracks: Guilty Pleasure, Venus

Rating: 5.8/10

Classic Case – Dress to Depress / 2005 Fiddler / 11 Tracks / http://www.classiccase.net / http://www.fiddlerecords.com / Reviewed 03 November 2005

[JMcQ]

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