Dig

Defenders of the Universe

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AllMusic Review by

A few years on from an alternative demi-hit at the commercial peak of the early-'90s version of said style. What to do? Should you be the band Dig, you record this follow-up to the self-titled debut -- with not exactly thrilling results. Hackwith's a good producer and everything sounds radio friendly, full-bodied, and agreeably loud, but the songs are something else entirely. Defenders isn't out and out bad, but it's terribly mediocre, even comparison to the group's first album. At least that was something that, at its best, sounded pretty good on the radio in between Nirvana and Soundgarden and the like, but here everything feels much more by rote, and is generally fairly po-faced to boot. When the band approaches the same level of semi-Zen metal stomping that Jane's Addiction so easily achieved, as on the opening notes of "Detune" or "Wall Socket," then Dig make the best case for its continued existence. The occasional lightening of tone doesn't hurt -- "Song for Liars" is much more relaxed than anything on the first album and works wonders as a result, while the wittily titled "E.L.O." doesn't quite sound like said band but does have a pretty good chorus. Otherwise, it feels like snotty rock & roll too labored to work as such or vaguely poetic nothings that just sound tired and lacking compared to Chris Cornell's wry subversions or Kurt Cobain's blunt kissoffs. Everything from ukelele and theremin to Moog keyboards and banjos are thrown into the mix here and there to make things sound more adventurous than they really are. Otherwise, this is all stuff that's been heard before, potentially thrilling or involving for when one listens to it but unlikely to stick much beyond that period.

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