April 3, 2008

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God Fires Man, A Billion Balconies Facing the Sun
In De Goot Records, March 12
Lofty street-wise hard rock blurring the lines between grunge and air-punch-indie. Arthur Shepherd’s voice is half Chris Cornell on the good side and Scott Stapp on the bad but does avoid the hickish inflections that made Creed so hateable for a large segment of the music-listening public – it’d be fair to say GFM are Candlebox with an attitude problem. Along with having a pretty groovy title, “Braille Graffiti” is a double-time kicking of gluteus that’s sort of the distant cousin of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage,” a tribute to the lost art of no-girlz-allow3d 1971-GTO-metal that inspired many a young man to want to break highway laws. Combine some meta-Candlebox shtick with a big hit of wounded Trent Reznor and you have “Be Here Forever,” which is where these guys really unleash the rhino at the state fair. “Killer” points to Robert Plant singing over a bullhorn and U2 going above and beyond to keep up; “Happy Unhappy” fuses Pavement to a forgiving vision of nu-metal. A-Eric W. Saeger