Drive-Thru / MCA Records, 2001


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Sometimes, one can discover new groups through compilation albums or soundtracks. In the case of Fenix*TX, I first became awre of them thanks to the American Pie 2 soundtrack and their track "Phoebe Cates". For a first taste, I liked what I heard - and being able to snag their sophomore album Lechuza for about seven dollars at Target, I was more than willing to make the investment.

Sometimes, though, those first glances can be deceiving. While this is not a bad album, vocalist/guitarist William Salazar and crew sound more like a poor man's Blink-182 (without the toilet humor), focusing on solid musicianship but not having a whole lot of substance or anything memorable in the songwriting. If Fenix*TX had done something - anything - to try and make themselves stand out among the other bands in the punk-alternative scene, chances are this would have been a more memorable album.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Alas, it's not - though the album opener "Phoebe Cates" is still a nice little slab of pseudo-punk energy. And I will give props to the group - Salazar, guitarist James Love, bassist/vocalist Adam Lewis and drummer/guitarist/vocalist Damon De La Paz - for their harmony vocal work, which is a definite strong point in the band. But for the bulk of the 51 minutes of Lechuza, Fenix*TX follow pretty much the same musical formula that bands like Green Day have made us grow accustomed to, albeit without a lot of the energy and youthful sneering.

Oh, there's a moment where the band tries to rile up the blood, with their call to arms "Something Bad Is Gonna Happen," but when weighed with the rest of this disc, it sounds out of place. Likewise, the more serious messages that underlie songs such as "Katie W.," "Tearjerker" and "A Song For Everyone" aren't really able to get their points across as well as the band may have hoped - though I admit I'm at a loss to offer reasons why this is so.

Maybe it's that Fenix*TX tries to be a little too serious on Lechuza, and forget that the point of punk-alternative music is to allow both the musicians and the listeners an outlet to release their angst - and, in some cases, just have a reason to be goofy. It's not that the serious messages should be ignored, but if you're expecting more light-hearted moments on songs like "Pasture Of Muppets" and "Abba Zabba" (which, if memory serves me right, is a candy bar name), you're going to be in for a letdown.

Ah - and I'm going to repeat my biggest pet peeve about the CD in general, with a message to all bands: quit wasting my time by sticking useless shit on your discs by separating it from the last track with umpteen minutes of silence! (Some time ago, I said that bands should pay me a dollar for each minute they waste my time by having me sit listening to dead air. If this is the case, Fenix*TX owes me seven dollars.)

In the big picture, Lechuza still isn't a bad album; musically, Fenix*TX does have their chops down pretty well, though they have a little more loose of a sound than the mechanical precision of, say, Green Day. But Lechuza is less an album of what is than a portrait of what could have been, from a band who are obviously capable of much better work.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 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 Drive-Thru / MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.