Dig

Dig

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Got alternative if you want it. And was it ever wanted in those halcyon days of the early '90s, if one accepts the story behind the recording of this album. Allegedly, the group was told to go into the studio and "make an alternative record" by its label -- a crass approach to be sure, but it never stopped the likes of Stone Temple Pilots. Regardless of the truth behind the album, it didn't hurt that Hackwith was assisted on production by Dave Jerden, whose work with Jane's Addiction and Alice in Chains is clearly echoed here. Sometimes a little too closely -- "Believe," the album's semi-hit single, isn't quite Jane's redux, but the sheer sense of epic whomp and build has an obvious forebear, not to mention the pitch of the vocals. As for the rest of the album? In its own little way, charming -- while the whole thing certainly wants to aim for world-striding heights of mega-rock riffage, and does so at least in terms of volume, it feels more like an entertaining homage to such an idea, and why not? Hackwith is an appropriate vocalist for the proceedings -- essentially anonymous stylistically, his vocal acrobatics salted with just enough anguish and wracked attitude to taste, plus distortion here and there. His lyrics are equally derivative but just right -- "I'll Stay High" doesn't say much, but in context it's a darn good smack-down against whoever is being targeted. Similarly, his bandmates riff loud and hard -- having three total guitarists in the band doesn't hurt, and together they can aim for both crank-to-11 volume and just enough prettiness here and there as it goes. Led Zeppelin pulled off that combination a little more readily, but it's entertaining stuff regardless. Listen to Dig for nostalgia's sake and it's all good fun.

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