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Bleach - Static

Review by Paul M. Carhart
Originally published in The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM)

In case you've found yourself with nothing but filthy rags since Bleach's first release, I've got news for you. Bleach's new album, Static is in perfect time for you to do another load.

If you liked Bleach's first album, you'll love their latest release, Static. Gone are much of the fuzzy distorted guitars hiding out in the background. Taking their place is a lot more crunch in the foreground and an even brighter upbeat attitude.

The music itself is much more dynamic with legitimate guitar solos standing out over the driving sounds of the rhythm section, something that was not prevalent on their previous release. Songs actually find themselves coming to a complete stop and then driving forward again, as if entering the spin cycle. Another innovation for Bleach is the use of different guitar effects within the same song. The second track, "Super Good Feeling" is a fine example of this, utilizing a funky 50's reverb guitar in the verses and then kicking into the high energy electric grunge that is a Bleach staple for the chorus.

Vocalist, Dave Baysinger, has matured as well. Falling somewhere between The Beach Boys' Mike Love and REM's Michael Stipe, Baysinger's humble voice manages to lurk somewhere between the layers of music in most cases. However, Baysinger proves his mettle in such songs as "Rundown Town," where he ably carries the entire song in front of an uncharacteristically mellow Bleach. All the rules have been thrown out with this latest release. "Warp Factor Five" sounds like a strange hybrid between Audio Adrenaline and the Newsboys . Probably the most underappreciated aspect of their previous release, Space, the lyrics are much more prominent on Static, thankfully allowing each and every turn of phrase to be heard and pondered much more easily.

All in all, the band's dynamics have improved tenfold, most noticeably manifesting itself as a more pronounced presence of background vocals as well as a more extensive exploration of their respective instruments. This is possibly a result of the heavy touring that Bleach has endured in the past year. Whatever the reason, the result is very impressive.

As with their first album, Static was produced by Audio Adrenaline alum, Barry Blair who obviously knows not only what the Bleach band members want, but also what we want as well. What emerges is a brighter, cleaner, more sparkling brand of Bleach that is guaranteed to give you a very severe case of Static cling. Trust won't want to put it down.


Related Information

For a year or so I was a CD reviewer for The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM) where this review was originally published.

- Paul M. Carhart


  © 1998 Paul M. Carhart, all rights reserved, all media.