Spitfire Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Everybody wants to be Fred Durst - may God have mercy on us.

The latest band to enter the already-too-crowded fray, Groovenics, mixes angst and rap with a touch of pop sensibility - or at least the band's version thereof. Led by vocalist K*rl Michaels (no, that's not a typo, the star replaces an "a" in his name), Groovenics' self-titled debut is a disarrayed collective of tracks featuring a band uncertain as to which musical direction they wish to go.

The band - Michaels, guitarists Jim Austin and Matt Swig, bassist Pete Carmichael, keyboardist Josh Mullenix and drummer Mike Darookie - plows through 13 songs trying their best to create some type of cross between Limp Bizkit and Nine Inch Nails, never really capturing the essence of either band well enough to pull things off. By rote, the band is competent enough on their respective instruments - all well and good, but the material is pretty much devoid of emotional attachment for the listener.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I'm not certain where the problem lies - either in songwriting or execution - but therein lies the key to unlock the potential for success for Groovenics. Songs like "Just Right," "Spooy" and "Superstar" all potentially could have been something noteworthy, but the pursuit of a specific musical style (and not hitting the mark) sinks these efforts.

The pop influence comes on tracks like "She's A Freak," which almost tries to send Groovenics into a Tone-Loc meets 2 Live Crew style of songwriting (without the sexual bragadoccio). It's most definitely an experiment - and one that fails to get off the ground creatively or musically. The attempt to show hipness through sexuality (on "Booty Barn") is so out of place on this disc that it feels like an afterthought - no, check that, it smacks of zero thought.

Further attempts at pop stylings are heard on the group's cover of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - an effort which is pretty well butchered. (Never mind the fact I always thought the original track was a throwaway.) Maybe it was in the interpretation that this one faltered - or maybe it was the source material itself - but it's not the strongest way for a band to close the opening statement of their career.

Groovenics is an underdeveloped album featuring a group which does not seem like they know what to do with themselves, and who have not found their own unique musical voice. Here's hoping they're pointed in the right direction soon; after all, those who follow flashes in the pan tend to have an even shorter shelf life.

Rating: D+

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Spitfire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.