Classic meets modern

The Audiocentrix’s ambitious and inspired Suicide Lust  
By BOB GULLA  |  May 23, 2006

SMOKIN’:  The Audiocentrix run the gamut on Lust.

The Audiocentrix just celebrated the release of their second disc last weekend. The eagerly awaited Suicide Lust, the follow-up to the band’s surprisingly accomplished debut, Center Yourself, is another batch of deep and accessible modern rock, loaded with hooks and hummable melodies. It uses quality songs such as “So Easy” from the first album as a launching point and departs from there, which means it’s a creative work of real ambition. “Everything You Are,” Suicide Lust’s first single, has cool vocal and guitar hooks and sturdy construction. “Letter to Ferdinand” has a ragtag ’70s Stones feel to it, and “Good Enough” is a pretty, Beatlesque ballad, with a strong verse, bridge, and chorus. In fact, it’s the sonic center of the album and it demonstrates how effective the band can be when they keep it stripped back. The same goes for the angry “Someone Else’s Pain,” which has a cool ebb and flow. “Never Without,” a “Beth”-style piano ballad, doesn’t have the crisp keyboard sound it should, but you don’t notice it too much thanks to Jeff Byrd’s effective, sad-eyed vocals.

The record is sequenced well; it begins with uptempo stuff and works its way to the poppier, more easily digested material in the middle, then ramps back up to the really interesting, seven-minute closer, “Too Many Smiles,” which shows that the band also has a trance-y, psychedelic vibe to go along with its pop hooks. But the Audiocentrix’s only weakness is significant. Perhaps encouraged by the quality of their debut, the band overreaches here, not in terms of songs, but production. Their ideas, as good as they were on the first album, aren’t accompanied by the mature production chops to pull them off. This doesn’t diminish the power of the songwriting or the fact that these songs kick ass live. But it does feel like the band, in its layered approach to performing these songs, had trouble getting good guitar and keyboard sounds on tape.

Are the Audiocentrix poised to take the next step and become the premier pop band everyone expects? Clearly, they’re both assured and inspired, and their classic rock-meets-modern rock is fertile turf to stake out. Whether they allow these songs to take on lives of their own will depend on how much time, energy, and nurturing the band will devote to further growth and development of Suicide Lust.

Barn burning
We’re happy to report some Barn Burning news. They have a new disc, Werner Ghost Truck, their first since ’03’s acclaimed Weatheredbound. It’s currently in the hands of some labels, and the band’s waiting patiently, but not for long. “We've got plenty of people who are interested, but no one has bitten yet,” writes BB’s Anthony Loffredio in an e-mail. “We might just release it ourselves this summer. We’re sick of waiting.” In the meantime, Loffredio, with members James Merida, James Toomey, Kate Conroy, and Corwin Butterworth, have also recorded a four-song EP, Choir Practice, which will be officially released when the band plays Jake’s on Richmond Street in Providence on Sunday (the 28th). The EP continues Barn Burning’s winsome and rustic approach, with loosely charming arrangements and a ragged sense of mystery. Big points for a bizarre cover of Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills.” Also on the bill for is Van Bronson and Miranda Sound.

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