Too Soon MonsoonWheatusOut 21 November”Who are Wheatus?” you might ask. Well, once upon a time (in fact, back in the days when GCSEs were still a worrying prospect) Wheatus briefly bothered the charts with the single Teenage Dirtbag. Don’t pretend you don’t remember it, because you know very well that the painful memory of that song will be with you forever. Ttragically, after reaching the dizzy heights of singles chart success with their debut offering, the story took a turn for the worse. The band’s profile rapidly declined, with the result that they were dropped by Sony-Columbia Records two years ago. Too Ssoon Monsoon, the group’s third album, was therefore entirely produced by lead singer and songwriter Brendan Brown and will be released through a small independent label.Not that Brown is bitter of course, what with developing a new range of “Suck Fony” merchandise and singing about corporate dominance. Those evil executives at the record companies get a very bad press generally, and there are plenty of examples of record bosses destroying artistic freedom and overlooking true musical genius. Fair play to them though, sometimes their judgements are spot on. The artistic freedom which Brown seems to have been demanding from his old label is the freedom to continue writing mediocre pop-rock and get paid for it, and now he has just that. Oh, and he whacks in the odd swear word, just to make it clear that he has, you know, strong feelings. Aall in all there is nothing offensively bad about Wwheatus’ music, it’s just unforgiveably bland. Ppropelled mostly by simple guitar riffs, the more upbeat songs are reasonable but instantly forgettable, such as the opener Something Good. But these louder songs do provide a good showcase for one of the bands’ main assets, their female backing singers. Eeasily the most irritating thing about is Brown’s nasal whine, and so the harmonies provided on the big choruses are a welcome relief. Iin fact Who Would Have Thought? is possibly the best song on the album, probably because it was written and sung by backing singer Katherine Froggatt without Brown’s intrusion.Regrettably, further attempts to expand the group’s sound have resulted in the appearance of some highly dodgy, Wwurlitzer-style organ effects, the main offender being The London Sun, which sounds like a Rrobbie Wwilliams song being spat out by a funfair.Brown’s songwriting does seem to approach genuine subtlety and emotionin its quieter moments, such as at the start of Hometown, a song about New York and the aftermath of Sseptember 11. But it is just too difficult to identify or sympathise with a voice that is so relentlessly annoying. Being a Wwheatus fan obviously requires a lot of hard work and dedication.Too Soon Monsoon will probably not be easy to find: it’s hard to imagine something this drenched in mediocrity album flying off the shelves without any press coverage or promotion. Hhowever, the band are threatening to tour sometime in the new year, so Wheatus fans will soon get their fix in person. Ssurely there must be some Wheatus fans left, mustn’t there?ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005
Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprnListen nowWalker among governors prodding Congress on health careLiz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media – Washington D.C.Alaska Gov. Bill Walker stood with his Colorado and Ohio counterparts to announce a new “blueprint” for health care, and they want Congress to get a move on.Three dead in early morning Anchorage fireCasey Grove, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageAccording to a fire marshal, a parent and two children were found dead in a fire in Anchorage’s Fairview neighborhood early Friday.Legislature faces another struggle over long-term budget plan Andrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauThe Legislature is faced with the same dilemma it’s had for the past three years: how to pay for the state budget when oil and gas revenue can no longer cover the costs. The biggest focus is on a plan that would draw from Alaska Permanent Fund earnings.Ninilchik student in custody after making gun threatAaron Bolton, KBBI – HomerA 12-year-old male student from the Ninilchik School is in custody after making threats about bringing a gun to school.Fairbanks tanker truck spills 2,500 gallons of fuel on Richardson HighwayTim Ellis, KUAC – FairbanksA Fairbanks-based tanker truck spilled an estimated 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel Thursday night after the driver lost control and wrecked the rig along an icy stretch of the Richardson Highway just north of Valdez.Murkowski sends letter questioning oil companies about drop in Alaska hireElizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk – AnchorageMurkowski cited a recently released Alaska Department of Labor report, stating the share of out-of-state workers in Alaska’s oil industry rose to 37.1 percent in 2016.Racers approach conclusion of Iron Dog 2018Tim Bodony, KIYU – GalenaThe 2018 Iron Dog Snowmachine Race is heading into its final stretch. Fresh snowfall, a windblown trail, and a last-minute change in the rules have created some extra drama as teams move towards the Fairbanks finish line.AK: Sitka students flex their performance muscles at state DDF tournamentEmily Kwong, KCAW – SitkaWhile the Olympics come to a close in PyeongChang this weekend, another competition is underway at East Anchorage High School. That’s where over 100 students and their coaches have gathered for the state’s annual “Drama, Debate, and Forensics” Championship.49 Voices: Erynn Bell of AnchorageVictoria Petersen, Alaska Public Media – AnchorageThis week we’re hearing from Erynn Bell in Anchorage. Bell is the owner of Rethink Home, a used furniture store.