GOOD LUCK JOES – What Do You Think of That Noise?
(2006 Third Ward Records)
As I listened to this record prior to writing the review I played it for a number of people. “So, who do they sound like?” I asked, unable to get a handle on it myself. I just knew they sounded like somebody. Funny thing is, while everyone agreed they did indeed sound like someone, they couldn’t agree on what that one band was. While the names they threw out ranged from Counting Crows to the Fray to Oasis to Matchbox 20, they did all have one thing in common: All were bands that have seen extensive radio play. Even though possessing a rather generic sound isn’t usually considered a good thing, you won’t see any of those platinum-selling bands complaining.
Strangely enough the one suggestion I got that sounded the most on-target to me was the non-hit-machine Jason Falkner. After spending time in both the Three O’Clock and Jellyfish, Falkner’s post-band career yielded a couple of excellent solo releases. The second, Can You Still Feel?, was full of massive hooks and catchy choruses which somehow never translated into sales. What Do You Think of That Noise? contains much of that same charm. Lead vocalist Joe Andrew Martin emulates Falkner’s confident delivery, lending a distinct personality to standout tracks like the gentle “Butterflies,” with its drum-loop percussion and the pleasant “48 Hours,” with its geeky/cute math references. Keyboardist Andrew Citron gives the latter additional depth with his piano part; the presence of which is bound to lead to way-too-easy and slightly off-base Coldplay comparisons.
It’s hard to tell if the boys realize exactly how creepy their stalker anthem “Always Be Around” really is. Initially coming off like a much more innocent break-up song, it isn’t until the full weight of verses like “When I gather up the strength / I’m going to drive up to your doorway / When no one answers / I’ll just follow you to work along the highway / I dial your number from my car / But you don’t like to take my phone calls,” sinks in that you realize the dude is seriously deluded. The unnerving, repeated mantra of “This is far from over” only supports that diagnosis.
There are a couple of clunkers; the harder they try to rock, the less effective they are. “The Fugitive” is by-the-numbers 90’s rote rock while “The Sun Explodes” turns up the guitars and dumbs down the lyrics. For the most part, the Good Luck Joes have crafted a likeable, listenable second release, enjoyable even if it isn’t particularly original.