Sinch

Clearing the Channel

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When most record execs think of Philadelphia, they tend to associate the city with R&B, jazz and hip-hop more than rock. They think of Gamble & Huff, Teddy Pendergrass, the Stylistics and the Intruders back in the '70s, or Jill Scott, the Roots, Eve and Beanie Sigel in the '90s and 2000s; they think of John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, McCoy Tyner and numerous other jazz heavyweights who came from the land of cheese-steaks, row houses and unscrupulous politicians. But the fact that A&R people generally overlook Philly's rock scene doesn't mean that the city doesn't have a lot of rock activity, and Sinch is one of the many worthwhile Philly area bands that has enjoyed a small local following since the '90s even though they aren't well-known nationally. While Sinch has never been the most original or groundbreaking band in the world, they generally provide respectable alternative rock/post-grunge fare. This 2005 release, which comes 11 years after Sinch's formation, is an enjoyable demonstration of their hard-rocking yet melodic approach -- and like a lot of similar post-grunge outfits, Sinch demonstrates that introspection and loudness are not mutually exclusive. Sinch rock aggressively much of the time, but their lyrics are introspective in a dark, often troubled way; they wear their Pearl Jam/Stone Temple Pilots/Nirvana/Bush heritage like a badge of honor, providing songs that are derivative but likable and noteworthy. Again, no one will accuse Clearing the Channel of trying to reinvent the alternative rock/post-grunge wheel, but in terms of craftsmanship, the album is usually a success -- and it serves as a reminder that while Philly's reputation as an R&B/jazz/hip-hop Mecca is well deserved, its ongoing contributions to rock should not be overlooked.

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