Eleventh Dream Day


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Quite how Eleventh Dream Day got onto a full-fledged major in the pre-Nirvana days is still a bit of a mystery. Not that the band ever sounded like Nirvana per se, it's just that their own rough-and-ready take on fine and fiery rock stuck out like a sore thumb on most of Atlantic's roster at the time (just take a look at all the hair metal they signed then and try not to seize up in bewilderment). More than a decade on, Beet is still a grand listen, as good a showcase for the wider world of the killer Rizzo/Beveridge Bean vocal duo and the band's overall kick and inspired songs as could have been hoped for. Comparisons can range from Neil Young to a more guitar-tinged Tom Waits, but one thing Eleventh Dream Day never forgets is a sense of the immediate instead of the overly reverent. Whether it's a hint of down-home motorik here or psych-sprawling rave-ups there -- or all of that at once, as the brilliant "Bagdad's Last Ride" shows -- Beet sparkles with life. A worthy storytelling air to many of its songs (besides "Bagdad's Last Ride," try the character sketch "Michael Dunne" or "Teenage Pin Queen") is a welcome bonus, but the real reason to listen is the music all around. If Gary Waleik's production sounds like it's holding back once or twice -- the more explosive parts still sound restrained in comparison to much that would come later -- it's perhaps an understandable trade-off in terms of getting the band out there to the wider world. When the band does let loose, as on the righteous instrumental break of "Testify" or the fried, on-the-edge jam that concludes "Road That Never Winds," the results are well-worth the wait.

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