Listen Up: Wednesday, July 25, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Soviet Space

Whenever Is Wonderful (FMM Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

By all accounts the most exciting thing to come out of the musical environs of TCU since Todd Lewis sang a Talking Heads cover at some long-forgotten frat party, Soviet Space appear to be poised for Big Things.

On their new full-length c.d., the somewhat disingenuously titled Whenever is Wonderful (a little laissez-faire for such a clearly ambitious band of boys), they aim for novel territory. It’s somewhere between the radio-ready pop-punk of Blink-182 and the Big Rock grandeur of Radiohead — the Beatles or Pink Floyd of the current generation; just dig the tasteful keyboards that bassist Jim Keith adds to several of the tracks, particularly the lovely “I’m Alone.” Soviet Space hits the target most of the time.

The band also claims the influence of emo (a label I dislike, implying as it does that other music has no emotion), including outfits like the Get Up Kids and Jimmy Eat World, which just means that you’re guaranteed as much melody as guitar grind every time out. And that’s a good thing. “One Helluva Roller Coaster,” the opener “Blowing Up,” and “Sorry So Short” are all appropriately named, full-on rockers. “All Star Falling” is a quieter, more reflective piece, while “A Clearer Picture of Me” and “Fountain St. Theater” showcase the band’s dynamic range.

Main guys Noah Garcia (guitar) and Jordan Richardson (drums) strike a nice balance between aggression and complexity, and you’ve gotta like a band in which everybody sings. If there’s a complaint here, it’s that the record could have been mastered a little hotter, with the vocals more up front. But I just listened to this back to back with the overrated Strokes, and for my money, the TCU kids have it all over the East Coast poseurs. So there.


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