The JudyBats

Full-Empty

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Some albums make it clear that it's time for a band to call it a day, and the Judybats' fourth and last Sire release, 1994's Full-Empty, is one of them. From the unattractive album cover (a pointless closeup of a plaster mold of lead singer Jeff Heiskell's teeth) to the dispirited music within, everything about this album is off. First off, Heiskell sports an entirely revised singing voice here, a smoother and deeper tone that erases the nasal Tennessee twang that had been the group's original focal point, thereby robbing the album of what personality hadn't already been destroyed by Paul Mahern's freeze-dried production. Worst of all, the songs, with the exception of the wistful opener "What We Lose," are a largely forgettable lot. The annoying "Stupid-Cute" and an utterly pointless remake of "Jive Talkin'" flirt with the sort of limp frat-boy noodle-dance-pop of the early Dave Matthews Band, but the fairly hopeless rhythm section of bassist Paul Noe and drummer Dave Jenkins is painfully funk-free. Everything about Full-Empty is a bad mistake, and few were surprised when the Judybats split within months of its release.

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