Keeeyrist. Haven’t I heard this before? Yes, I think I have. I will take “Songs That Remind You of That Crummy Styx Song Title ‘Haven’t We Been Here Before?'” for $500, Alex. Pete. Oops, I’m sorry. It’s just “pete.” The press kit just told me so. “All lower case, period at the end.” Oh goody, another group that has taken the e.e. cummings idea of no capitalization to get by on some coolness. Only thing is they forgot the sacred cummings rule: if thou useth all lowercase for any part of thy persona and thou are not cool, then ye shall look very silly. Yes, this rule actually exists! In my mind, anyway. I think e.e. would agree, though.
Anyway, we have this little album by pete brought to you by the fine folks at Warner Brothers. Now it has occurred to me since I have started receiving my discs for review at PopMatters that the one album I usually get per batch on the major label is often the big bland release. Oh sure, quite a few of the indie label discs that come my way are often downright bad, but at least those offending bands are usually trying to do something different with their own sound, even if their albums don’t always succeed. Not that I have a beef with major labels. I don’t. But when comparing these releases with all the indie stuff, you begin to see where the imagination and creative gap starts forming between the two.
pete sounds just like Soundgarden. That’s the best way I can sum up this album in one sentence. It’s that simple, really. And isn’t Soundgarden beyond yesterday’s papers? Lead vocalist David Terrana does his best Chris Cornell take while guitarist Rich Andruska, bassist Lars Alverson, and drummer Scott Anderson keep up the good old Seattle groove musically. But wait, these guys are from Jersey. Ah, the West Coast grunge sound finally invades the East Coast after all these years.
So crack out your plaid shirts and Soundgarden albums because you’ll be able to literally slip this one inside all of them. Hey it’s pete with the proper sequel to Badmotorfinger. Dig it. Big knotty bass lines, thundering drums and those rockin’ guitars all dressed up to go with Terrana’s wailing will have you shambling in those Doc Marten’s in the back of your closet all over again. I wanna say this album is diverse. But it’s not going to happen. “Sweet Daze”, “Drugstore Alibi”, “Cold Cocked”, “Bury Me”, they all do their retro thing in the same ways and leave you yearning for Starbucks.
Rich says “Once we knew we had something really cool, we realized that we needed to live together, play together, and say fuck it to everything else.” Ah, that good old “fuck it” ethic. Why does it not suit pete? Because this is another one of those groups that got picked up somehow with a bit of luck and got to do the big time scenario to an already vacuous hard rock landscape. A second album? Let’s just see if the kids latch on to your first one first, boys. I mean, it’s not like it’s 1992. So with a big-ass derivative sound that comes just about ten years too late, pete may very well fall into the chunky goodness of new millennium obscurity. Stick with your Soundgarden albums, folks. This one’s just another flash in the pan.