CD Review

Soundtrack - “Cry_Wolf: Music From and Inspired By the Film”

By Marcus Pan

Cry_WolfNew thriller movie, co-starring local goober Jon Bon Jovi by the way, is just about out and many of you have seen trailers for it by now I'm sure. An Internet thriller featuring instant messages delivering what started as a hoax about serial killings on a college campus (shades of Urban Legends?) features a band by the name of Adema, who offer me this CD because their song Planets is to be the lead single on the soundtrack.

The CD comes looking like a CD-Recordable disc hand labeled as "Owen's Westlake Mix." An interesting attempt to be as cool as the Blair Witch(1) soundtrack. Cute and catchy. Also, no guy named Owen can write as nicely as this. Just an aside, sorry.

My first impression when I spun Cry_Wolf: Music From and Inspired By the Film was one of overwhelming blah mixed with thoughts that I accidentally left a pop radio station on. Nope, turns out – it's just the soundtrack. Now since this is, after all, a various artists type thing we're going to talk about the tracks in succession like I usually do.

First up is Bloc Party with Like Eating Glass. Another pop-rock bubblegum styled yumminess. I guess the kids like it. Tries to be a bit punk without getting too gutsy and a bit U2 without getting too slow. Fast paced, occasionally the bass gets groovy. Breathe Underwater by Emanuel comes next and does everything it can to cookie cut its way through alterna-rock country. It's not really that bad – but then again there's a whole lot of "not really that bad" around these days that it's not doing much for me other than grooving a rhythm I'm already familiar with. Emanual goes through a Linkin Park yell-the-lyrics phase near the end only increasing this familiarity.

Low swathes down the rhythm with Moneky and gets a bit interesting with its down tempo style. But it fails to stay interesting and instead gets boring quickly. Maybe it’s the banality of the lyrics. Picking it right up and running around like Green Day did years ago at Woodstock, Just Surrender's Tell Me Everything is...Bowling For Soup(2), Green Day, Blink 182 and all the other pop-punk groups. From years ago. I know this song, almost, yet I've never heard it before. Figure that one out...

Sea Lion comes in being a bit off kilter – like Beck – and I'm digging it. Finally some guts. Performed by Sage Frances, Will Oldham & Alias. Whiny lyrics open the song interestingly and rap comes in to cross lyrics as good as Eminem or, probably more appropriately, Linkin Park. Finally a highlight to this album. I really dig it – fresh rhythm, the three throw lyrics at eachother like a good old fashioned rap off.

Rogue Wave attempt to be different with 10:1 and almost pull it off, but the over the top drums and boorish keyboards tend to wash it into a childish sea. Comes off more annoying that it should be. Rogue Wave then attempts to mix up the rhythm but only shows us they can't drum well (or program...whatever). Next up is our single we spoke of earlier: Adema's Planets. No wonder they picked this one to lead the soundtrack...thus far, nearly halfway through the soundtrack, it was a toss up between this and Sea Lion.

Planets has good crunchy bass and while a bit stock in trade pulls it off well. I'm not sure it's anything I've not heard before, but maybe it's a bit of a better version. I'd buy an Adema album maybe. It's got a nice slow groove, excellent musicianship, and just-about-to-crack vocals. The break-ins of guitar riffage is a little expected, but again nicely done. One of the few "start slow slam later" songs (everyone's doing that, almost) that manages to retain its catchy rhythm – becomes twice as strong and doesn't have to be twice as fast to do it.

22-20 are one of those "we're so cool we don't have to write anything different" bands. As I listen to Shoot Your Gun I hear Alice In Chains in the lyrics, U2 in the stoic commonplace rhythm and guitars, Creed in the drums. Maybe they're the bastard offsprings of a rehab center orgy. Oh wait...the lyrics just got too banal to be Alice In Chains. My bad. Then staple angry chick Jen Crowe acoustics her way onto the soundtrack with Cuts Like a Life. Alanis? Sinead? Is that you? Actually, she’s not half bad – and I dig her song. I’m just now noticing that with only the two noted exceptions all the other songs sound like all the other songs. Is this all one damn band fucking with me? It’s the female vocals that makes me realize this. Oh and yes, this is a cover.

From Autumn to Ashes’ Inapprope has me wondering if Vagrant Records made them up it’s so mainstream. So banal…so unthinkingly and unabashingly radio friendly that the fact that’s it’s decently played falls by the wayside. This is the type of group that would be playing synthpop 20 years ago because that’s what was “in.” Way to keep it stale, Vagrant! Oo what’s this? Smoothe, ambient-like, trancey and really nice. Blood Bleeds by Helio Sequence is another highlight. I liken it to Esion(3) or I, Synthesis(4).

Looking ahead, the next track is by a group calling themselves Aeon Spoke. I’m hoping it’s simlar to the group Helio Sequcne – it’s got a similar vibe to the name. Bass bounces in and the vocals try too hard to be grungy and garage. But while it’s nothing like the trancey Blood Bleeds, it’s pretty good. I’ve Seen Those Eyes is one of the few songs on Cry_Wolf that tries to carve its own way.

Upping the rhythm a bit is Jet Black Summer with Blood In Blood Out. This is your teenage angry band. I’m going to try not to sing too well, just a tad off key, to give that garage appearance. Or maybe the singing really is because they’re not good. Switches rhythms midway and becomes a race through a flat yawn-filled park. Knife has about as much maturity as my son(5). The lead singer of Miracle of 86 has enough vibrato here I’m wondering if he surgically loosened his voice box to get the extra shake.

We come to another cover. Sparklemotion’s version of Hungry Like the Wolf will be one of the few reasons why this CD may end up on my shelf rather than passed off as a freebie. It lightens the mood of Duran Duran’s original and adds a nice electrifying vibe to it. I dig her naughty schoolgirl vocals. Makes me want to dance dirty.

We’re nearing the end now as Khursor (cute name…lots of meanings) pop in with Creating a Killer (Passive Aggressive Remix). Sliding in eerily, Creating a Killer promptly gets punky and hard. Then suddenly it’s not and it’s strangely cerebral. Now it’s trancey and floaty with a nice anchoring backbeat. There’s the chunky guitars again. Now it’s classical – no, techno. You know – it might be nice if it didn’t try to be everything at once. Instead I’m all fugged in the head now. Let’s finish it off now: Classic close it up with We Gonna Put It Down(6). It bubbles in, raps quickly in gangsta style to the backdrop of up-n-down synthys and goes through its expected shout-style booty shaking anthem lyrics complete with made up funky fresh words and sex in a club references.

Well there you have it. I’ve pointed out the exceptions, but my second impression of Cry_Wolf: Music From and Inspired By the Film is only slightly less blah than the first.

Contact Information:
Earache Records
Post: 43 W. 38th St., New York, NY, 10018, USA
(1) Josh’s Blair Witch Mix was reviewed by our crusty old partner Dan Century in Legends #92.
(2) Strangely enough, I LOVED their new A Hangover You Don’t Deserve album. So much so I wrote it up for Legends #151.
(3) Esion’s En Route, an editor’s favorite, was talked about in Legnds #102.
(4) Avalanche by I, Synthesis was reviewed in Legends #147.
(5) Joshua was 16 months old 3 days ago.
(6) Did I ever mention how much I tend to dislike misspellings in song titles without good reason?

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