The Mercury Lift (Century Media)
by Ewan Wadharmi
Like the 800 or so other bands that sound exactly like them, Haste mixes hardcore Rage spewing with syrupy boy-band regressions. What will separate them are the tag-team vocals, which bridge that awkward too cool for Backstreet Boys/not cool enough for Coalesce stage. Haste’s largest strength lies in inventing golden titles for shitty songs. “Houdini Has Lost His Key” features sickening sweety-pie vocals. Offset drum beats trip over themselves just in case the overstretched phrasing fails to cripple the song. The “melodies” promised in the media packet consist of aimless wandering around three or four notes per tune.
With all the musical resolution of 311 masturbating with Steely Dan, each chapter is a labor. The dryness occasionally alleviated by the commendable rhythm section, “Room One Thirty Four” and “Stutter,” or a Collective Soul hook, “Aspartame,” or guest croaking from Lamb of God’s Randall Blythe. Believe it or not, “A God Reclaims His Throne” has screaming in bass, baritone, and tenor registers. If they’d thought to harmonize, they might’ve had something. Instead, it amounts to baby demon, mama devil, and Beelzebub. On high speed numbers “Force Is Always an Option” and “Revenge Tastes Like Blood and Broken Teeth,” resident vocal dualists Kelly Reaves and Chris Mosley leap-frog shouts in turn. The mid-range screamer is less believable than his higher-pitched counterpart. Less feral than, say, The Blood Brothers’ wild-child sound, but relatively vicious.
My theory is that once the kids abandoned the archaic practice of rhyming, the tune followed soon after. Sure, it’s an old-fangled Dr. Seuss structured ritual, but rhyme gave the phrase something to shoot for. A frame of reference within the rhythm. And for God’s sake, let’s hold onto the rhythm ’til they pry it from our cold, dead fingers.
(2323 W. El Segundo Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250)