CD Review

Schulz – “What Apology”

By Theo DeRoth

What ApologyI have to say, in its defense, Schulz’s What Apology starts out strong. The first few tracks are energetic and muscular, with strong beats and a guitarist – Guenter Schulz – who plays like Sneaky Pete Kleinow on speed. Opener Resolve, in particular, is the kind of song guaranteed to get everyone at a given venue on their feet and screaming, and March has as much rabble-rousing potential as We Will Rock You, but without Freddy Mercury in that weird cape of his. Envision, too, is powerful and fast, with a strong and distorted chorus. The first half of the album is, frankly, fun; the kind of music that makes this reviewer imagine car chases and dirty fights.

However, after this point, What Apology seems to loose energy. This is partly due the change in musical style – the second half of the album has got more chill-out elements than the earlier tracks. But this means, also, that there’s less of Schulz’s excellent guitar work and a lot more of Jeff Borden’s largely underwhelming vocals. Although his voice does occasionally carry an alluring hiss, it’s really not strong or interesting enough to carry an entire album.

While the first half of the album plays well with stereotypes and gently bends a few genres – from the screaming chorus and fast, repetitive chords of React to the almost country-western swagger of Lowtrack – the second half is also repetitive, but not in a good way. The last few tracks all seem to blend together, and the cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart is unremarkable, at best.

What it comes down to is: This would a good album, if Jeff Borden wasn’t on board. His lyrics aren’t very interesting and, as I said before, his vocal style is at best charmingly sibilant, at worst annoyingly screeching. With Guenter Schulz’s track record – he was a member of KMDFM in the 1990s and he was trained in classical guitar as well as playing punk and metal – one would expect nothing less than very good music from him. And while Borden does have a considerable reputation as one who began playing drums at nine and staged his first performance at twelve, this reviewer has to wonder whether he wouldn’t have done better to stay behind the drums.

Contact Information:
ArtOfFact Records
Post: Box 68039, RPO Osborne Village, Winnipeg, MB, R3L 2V9, Canada
Phone: (905) 707-6283
E-Mail: distribution@artoffact.com
Web: www.artoffact.com

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