Dubrovniks - Chrome
I got it because a few tracks downloaded from Limewire whet my appetite. This seemed to be punchy, meaty, guitar-driven rock which has usually just the sort of thing I have been drawn to in the past. But then I listened to it after I had purchased it, and somehow it just did not all fit together in the same way as I had expected it would from my original listen. Something seemed to be out-of-place. It seems to be one of those albums where individual tracks off it sound just fine, but when the work is taken together as a whole, it does not match up to expectations.
Some of the tracks still sound good. They are rollickin' good songs, which move along at a pace and will have your foot tapping and deliver that urge to get up and throw yourself around the room. "Saigon Rose" is probably the standout track, though tracks such as "Television Girl" and "Gun Metal Steel" also bounce along at a good pace. The music is competently played if at times unimaginative, and the strange, short "Dirty Rag" is not enough to convince you that there is a reservoir of untapped innovation lurking somewhere underneath. But the lack of imagination and innovation alone should not be something to write off an album. And despite my comments in this review, I do not intend to write this album off at all.
The trouble is, that is all Chrome is. It is the style of music which any group of reasonably competent, sober kids could throw together in their garage. You, know, the best way to describe this is to say that it all sounds like each song is a cover, the original of which you can't quite place but you are sure you have heard it before. But you have heard it before - in all those films where the tough guy hero walks into the rowdy bar looking for THE MAN. Well, the band playing in the background, the same one which kept on playing when the fighting broke out and the chairs started fighting, that band was the Dubrovniks. And if it wasn't the Dubrovniks, it was someone very like them.
Don't get me wrong, the songs are mostly quite good, but ultimately unfulfilling on a higher level. Not having listened to it for a while and then putting it on while driving down the motorway one warm summer afternoon, I came to appreciate it a bit more. As it cracked along I frequently had to ease up on the accelerator as I could feel my speed surreptitiously building. I guess it makes it, if nothing else, good driving music. There is definitely a time and a place for this, preferably a time and place where you don't have to concentrate on it. I guess the whole can total less than the sum of the parts. This is music which had its heyday in the early- to mid-1980's. Nobody did this sort of thing better than the Del Fuegos. I guess nobody should try.
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