Saturday, September 02, 2006

America's Volume Dealer (2000)
Format: mp3 (192kbps - HQ)
HHA Rating: 6.5
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That sound is a little more funked-up here, and the band's Southern tinge is more pronounced than ever -- Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov't Mule) lends his slide guitar to the Skynyrd-ish acoustic-driven ballad (!) "Stare Too Long." What's most immediately obvious, though, is that this is COC's most radio-friendly record yet -- the production is more polished, and while the guitars are still high-voltage, the sludgy murk of their most inspiringly heavy records is largely absent. Even if some fans might be disappointed that they have left the garage, the songs hold up well -- they're melodic and well-crafted, and there's enough variety in the album's pacing to keep it an engaging listen the whole way through. If there is a flaw, it's that the added polish doesn't really do COC justice. Word has it that the band conceives America's Volume Dealer as their equivalent to Metallica's so-called Black Album (indeed, a few songs like "Sleeping Martyr" are very reminiscent of that band's later period), and it is definitely a logical way for COC to move toward greater commercial accessibility. However, even if it accomplishes that goal, it isn't quite the radical departure or reinvention (as Metallica was) that will result in a hugely expanded audience; plus, the somewhat tamer, smoother-edged sound might make longtime fans uneasy. For the time being, though, it's interesting to hear the band trying new directions and keeping their sound fresh. - - by Steve Huey - -
(song list)
1 - over me
2 - congratulations song
3 - stare too long
4 - diablo blvd.
5 - doublewide
6 - zippo
7 - who's got the fire
8 - sleeping martyr
9 - take what you want
10 - 13 angels
11 - gittin' it on
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