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Rdio Reviews, Vol. 4

Violator: Chemical Assault

It wasn’t until my ears perked up for “Ordered to Thrash” (an instrumental) that I realized that Violator’s weak link is the vocals. Otherwise, this is a pretty fun time warp.

Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

I never expected to get so much enjoyment from something that reminds me of Sheryl Crow.

Life Sex & Death: The Silent Majority

I haven’t heard or thought much about this album in probably at least fifteen years. Apropos of nothing, several songs from it have been getting stuck in my head lately, and it’s very confusing.

Various Artists: Whatever Nevermind: A Tribute to Nirvana’s Nevermind

Though a few good bands are included, no one on this compilation does an even remotely compelling Nirvana cover.

Wussy: “Funeral Dress”

After being a Wussy fan for a few years, I only just now noticed that this song borrows liberally from the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks.”

Faith No More: Sol Invictus

I think it’s fair to say that Faith No More had run its course by the time the band split up in 1998, and seventeen years later, Sol Invictus finds the guys pretty much picking up right where they left off, which renders the album sadly inessential. This is not to say that it’s bad, especially by reunion record standards, but none of its songs are likely to become classics, and some probably should have been omitted entirely (oddly, the album is bookended by its two weakest tracks). In the past, FNM’s occasional patches of lackluster songwriting were bolstered by the band’s collective performative idiosyncrasies, but moments embodying that recognizable FNM flavor are rare on Sol Invictus, which continues the trend of diminishing returns that began with the 1993 departure of guitarist Jim Martin. “Superhero” and “Matador” are the closest things to standouts here, closing in on the band’s distinctive marriage of aggression and dramatic flair. They don’t quite get there, but they offer glimmers of hope that Faith No More can still do what it did best, so maybe the next record is worth looking forward to (if it even happens). Until then, though, Sol Invictus is a fairly unremarkable warmup.