Demolition Day

22 Brides

Zero Hour Records, 1998‎

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It never fails... every time I'm ready to declare alternative rock dead, some group comes along to prove to me there are signs of life in the stagnating genre.

This time around, it was the duo of Carrie and Libby Johnson, better known as 22 Brides, who gave me reason to see new blood in the alternative rock world. Their third album, Demolition Day, reminds me a lot of the Indigo Girls, only with more of an edge musically and lyrically. For such a short album, a lot of enjoyment is packed into it - and that makes all the difference.

Often, the lyrics sing about relationships and the pain that can be caused as a result of them. The title track is one moving example of the heroine in the song trying to break out of a relationship that is headed towards (if it's not already in) trouble ("Getting out of here is the hard part now / You haven't learned a thing"). What provides the added punch needed to the song is the musicianship of Libby and Carrie (who often trade leads throughout the album); they know that a good lyric means nothing without a good song to make the message hit home.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Similar to the title track, "Another Distant Light" looks in at a woman who dreams of leaving a dead-end relationship, but doesn't seem to have the resolve to do so just yet. Lyrics: "He moves into the distance / Each time I start to turn / He moves and so I listen / To learn what I might learn". The aspect of feeling trapped is summed up in the line, "I don't know how to be free / So silently I shrug". Ka-pow.

But for the messages of hopelessness conveyed in Demolition Day, there are moments where the rays of daylight shine brightly. Tracks like "So It Goes" offer the hopes of passing on life's lessons learned from a parent to a child, even as they look towards a new chapter in their lives ("Old words beyond us / Water under the bridge").

The surprising thing about 22 Brides is that despite the often dark tone to the lyrics, the sisters Johnson, through their vocal delivery and often upbeat tone they set in their music, are able to help the listener feel better after going through the album. How they are able to do this I am not certain, but whatever magic they're creating, it works well.

The eleven songs on this disc are surprisingly short; four tracks clock in at under three minutes each. However, 22 Brides seem to know how long it takes to get their message across, and they don't want to pad it out with any extraneous material. That being said, I would have preferred the disc to be longer; something this good shouldn't end so quickly.

It's too rock-oriented to call folk, yet it's too folky to classify as rock. Instead, Demolition Day creates its own unique musical category for 22 Brides: just good music.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 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 Zero Hour Records, and is used for informational purposes only.