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MUSIC REVIEW (Rock)
Northern Pikes
Truest Inspiration

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Label: Independent Released: 1/1/2001


African vocals? Is this a Paul Simon record? "Echo Off the Beach"? As in "Echo Beach"? "Mimi On The Beach"? Isn't that riff from 54-40's "Miss You"? Weird underwater vocals. Cool guitar sounds. Where's the chorus? Oh there it is, it's the verse, but with different words. Bryan Potvin should have been the main vocalist right from the start. He ain't pretty he just sounds that way. Definitely the best song on the album and unfortunately it's downhill from there.

Track 2 finds Merl Bryck trying to be in XTC or some other quirky rock band but it just sounds like a bunch of pasted-together parts with no connection other than the tempo. Where's the bass? Piano sounds nice on "Swirl". Jay Semko can sing too. Unfortunately not so much on this song as he digresses into Roger Waters-esque depression. An OK song maybe as a little break in the middle of some rock songs but as the third song on the album it kind of kills any momentum they may have had. Oh wait it picks up a bit. Again with the Pink Floyd-like meanderings. Or is it Boomtown Rats?

OK maybe I'm being unrealistic in expecting rock music from these guys at this point, but that's what they did best, right? Semi-mindless frat-boy party rock? I don't mind it in small doses and that's what the Pikes were to me and many other people I suspect. So now they've gotten all deep and spiritual, which is probably good for them but not so much for the listener. I am hoping this is just a warm-up after their hiatus and they'll put out a real record soon.

Track four, again with the mellow intro; driving drums after 8 bars could have saved this song but instead it's a stumbling tom-tom beat and "shakey things". Finally the drums come in proper but by then it's too late. And by then he's singing about Christ. Now that ain't pretty and it don't sound that way either. File under Stryper baby. Maybe they're trying to get a show opening for Amy Grant.

Then there's another song that sounds like that "Feed The World" Band Aid song. Then "Mama I'm Coming Home" by Ozzy! Melanie Doane's vocal & fiddle appearance on "Colour Into Colour" (good old Canadian spelling!) breathes a little life into the corpse but it's well beyond revival at this point. They should have put that song second and a little more momentum would have been created from the start. And someone give Potvin a Les Paul or an SG please! Those skinny 80's Fender sounds get very tiring after a few songs.

I guess the best I can say about this album is that the production is pretty good in an 80's kind of way and there is some interesting guitar playing on it. The worst I can say is that it sounds completely uninspired and lacks any sort of passion or intensity. I don't mean to be mean, but sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind. Being "middle of the road" is only going to get you run over by a truck. I'll still go see them play just to hear the old hits though. Sure if I meet them they may kick my ass but I probably deserve it. Maybe I just don't understand where they're coming from, and maybe their new fans do. But I doubt it.

Stephen K. Donnelly Email WWW

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