LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF THE BAT
Tin Foil Phoenix
Rock 'n' roll is a lot like comedy; it's all in the timing. And in that regard, you can't help but wonder if Winnipeg's Tin Foil Phoenix will end up getting punk'd by their own potential.
Here's what we mean: In 2002, based on the strength of their seven-song EP Hurry, the artists formerly known as Sonic Bloom snagged a deal with Nickelback kingpin Chad Kroeger's 604 label. It's no wonder why -- Hurry was a distinctive, stylish concoction of funky hip-hop, swaggering metal and anthemic modern rock, topped with Michael Zirk's hyperintelligent, stream-of-pop-culture-consciousness neo-beat poetry.
But hey, don't take our word for it; listen to their oft-delayed, long-overdue album Living in the Shadow of the Bat -- half of it consists of rerecorded (and sometimes retitled) cuts from Hurry. And that's what has us worried.
Sure, songs like Neopolitan, Bum Rush the Motorcade and We'll Get to Venus are just as addictive and brainy now as they were in 2002. And there's no denying the handful of new tunes are cut from a similar stylistic cloth. At the same time, however, there's also no denying that if you live in this town, you've probably heard half this CD before.
Even if you don't, you might find the band's Chili Peppers-meets-OLP approach a tad dated. And like it or not, a disc so heavily reliant on older material -- right down to the running order of the first three cuts -- doesn't inspire confidence in a band's new songs.
Ultimately, though, you can't help but feel that fate has dealt the Phoenix boys a bad hand -- if this disc hadn't been delayed so long, they might be on their second album by now, instead of appearing to be stuck in a state of suspended animation. Still, here's hoping that once they stop living in the shadow of their former selves, Tin Foil Phoenix can rise to their full potential.
Maybe then they'll even get the last laugh.
[[+3]] Friday, September 10, 2004
Tin Foil Phoenix rely on older material