For better or for worse, rock music has changed over the years, but now, Illumina Records and a Massachusetts based nonprofit organization are hoping that rock can instigate a change.
The No. 1 preventable killer of rock and roll fans is drunk driving, according to a statement by Ronald J. Bellanti, president and founder of Illumina Records, on the company’s “Rockers For Life” Web site.
Together with the anti-drunk driving group Ground Control, Illumina Records is producing music compilations entitled “Rockers For Life” in over 100 United States markets for release in 2007. The goal is to create a massive media blitz of “don’t drink and drive” messages through posters and live shows alongside the CD releases.
The Los Angeles version of the CD showcases a lineup of bands with diverse sounds and, for some of the tracks, crappy sounding recordings.
“Pushed,” by the band R.I.T.L., sounds like it was recorded on one of those blue and yellow Fisher-Price tape players with the microphone attached.
Recording quality isn’t the only thing holding the music back, some of the songs that sound more polished still suck. Electra Barakos, the only female artist on the CD, cannot sing in key. The chorus of her song “Turn It Around” is layered with such off key vocals that one can’t help but grit his or her teeth. And when you reach her adlib in the song, you may just chip a tooth it’s so horrible.
Two bands attempt a reggae-rock fusion that almost works. One Pound Penny its their song with reggae guitar. After a chorus, there is an awkward transition, which sounds like the work of cut and paste editing, into a rock guitar solo. Further’s reggae-rock song is slightly better because it has a walking bassline that exudes a Sublime influence, but the chorus is really odd. It sounds like a ’60s rock and roll singing part over constant organ notes and electric guitar powerchords.
One of the better tracks on the CD is Cubis Logic’s “Sunny Day Turned Gray,” if you imagine the lead singer doesn’t exist. He tries his best to hype up the song, but the hard-hitting guitar and drum parts dominate his pip-squeak of a voice.
The best songs on the CD are by the Eggshell Egoz and Calahan. The Eggshell Egoz’s track takes the listener back to ’90s era rock, sounding sort of like Everclear while
Calahan sports a lead singer who may fall short in his attempts at sounding like Ozzy Osbourne mixed with Axl Rose. But the song channels some of that serious classic rock badass that’s been missing on the charts.
The CD suffers from a lack of good singers and quality recordings.
“Rockers For Life” is a good idea; it’s just too bad that Illumina Records could not find better music for the CD.
Instead of listening to this CD, read the signs on Cal Poly’s Via Carta Road for your anti drunk driving message, that way you don’t waste your time. Enough said.