Napalm Springs

Butterfly Jones

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Napalm Springs Review

by Alex Henderson

When a band breaks up and its ex-members form new bands, it is always interesting to see if the new band embraces something totally different or becomes, in effect, a continuation of the old band. For John Lydon, Public Image was a total departure from the Sex Pistols. And Big Audio Dynamite, the outfit that Mick Jones co-founded after getting fired from the Clash, was hardly a carbon copy of his former band. But on the other hand, the Foo Fighters were not a radical departure from Dave Grohl's former band Nirvana. And similarly, Butterfly Jones pretty much picks up where dada left off. This Los Angeles-based combo boasts two-thirds of dada -- Michael Gurley is on lead vocals and guitar, Phil Leavitt on drums and percussion -- and its debut album, Napalm Springs, is very likeminded. Like dada, Butterfly Jones favors a melodic, polished style of alternative rock that is quite mindful of the psychedelic rock and guitar pop of the 1960s and 1970s. The Beatles, Badfinger, and the Rolling Stones are prominent influences, and Gurley's vocals have a Mick Jagger-ish quality (which isn't to say that he is an outright clone of the Stones' long-time singer). Butterfly Jones isn't the only alterna-rock outfit that has psychedelic and British Invasion influences, but unlike other alterna-rockers who admire rock's Baby Boomer era, this band doesn't try to be cute or ironic. Rather, Butterfly Jones comes across as organic and sincere -- not contrived -- on melodic, neo-psychedelic tracks like "Suicide Bridge" and "Blue Roses." By 2001 standards, this CD is hardly innovative. But while Napalm Springs is never groundbreaking, the writing is consistent and solid. Anyone who was a fan of dada will also find a lot to enjoy about this pleasing, if derivative, effort.

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