From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II New Found Glory (Drive-Thru)
New Found Glory ain’t exactly everybody’s cup of Earl Grey. You have to give them credit, though, for being just about the only emo-punk outfit to survive the millennium war for legitimacy that saw bands such as Sum 41 and A Simple Plan bite the dust.
It’s hard to say if this can be attributed to their musical output or simply their professional wherewithal. Whatever the case, seven years after I first discovered New Found Glory via a chant-heavy cover of Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love” — from their bizarrely fun EP of movie themes, called From the Screen to Your Stereo — they have decided to deliver a full-length sequel rather uncreatively titled From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II. To make up for the lack of iconic songs (last time, we got everything from “My Heart Will Go On” to “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”), they’ve recruited plenty of friends, including Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara, and even Lisa Loeb, who goes head-to-head with front man Jordan Pundik on a rocked-up, you-know-you-want-to-sing-along cover of “Stay” from Reality Bites.
Unfortunately, there are fewer gems here than last time. Takes on Pretty Woman’s “The King of Wishful Thinking” and Vision Quest’s “Crazy for You” manage to live up to Part 1’s memory, but covers of “Iris” and “Don’t You Forget About Me” sound too much like the originals to pay much attention to, and it’s hard to consider “It Ain’t Me, Babe” as actually from Walk the Line and not Johnny Cash and June Carter. Opting to include the intro from Amelie was an even odder misstep. Nevertheless, From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II can’t help but be fun for anyone looking for a new reason to sing along to some old favorites.
— Cole Haddon
There’s Already an Everything Druggist (Self-released)
One way for a band to avoid the sophomore slump might be to lose a key member or two.
It’s a counter-intuitive suggestion, to be sure, but it worked well for the Velvet Underground and Big Star, who seemed to intensify their creative efforts when their ranks thinned.
The same could be said for Druggist, the SA indie-pop quartet that shrunk to a duo early this year. As a result, the Druggist of There’s Already an Everything sounds markedly different than the band heard on last year’s promising Early Michael Keaton.
The big constant in the Druggist sound, though, is the dramatic, pleading, tenor of frontman Blake Cormier. In a manner that suggests Jeff Buckley crossed with a young Eric Carmen, Cormier works his voice like an instrument and writes to it like a playwright creating a part for a favorite actor.
Cormier and guitarist Zach Dunlap make up for the band’s lost rhythm section by donning multiple roles, with Cormier handling piano drums, bass, guitar and synth, and Dunlap moving back and forth from guitar to bass.
Cormier’s drumming is adequate and musters up a fair approximation of the old, full-band Druggist, but the most startling songs on There’s Already an Everything are the skeletal ones, where his haunting piano chords frame his soaring vocals and Dunlap noodles away in an evocative manner that sounds like carefully considered spontaneity.
“Do You Know The Way I Feel?” is an instant, brooding classic, and it’s nearly matched by “It Was the Song,” and “She Said,” in which Cormier succintly defines his spiritual dilemma: “I don’t want to die/ I just want to fall asleep forever.”
This is earnest, self-absorbed music that makes no concessions to irony or levity, and it doesn’t need to. The smaller this band gets, the grander its ambitions become.
— Gilbert Garcia