Back in New Zealand they started as Shihad. Then they got big and moved to Melbourne, Australia. Fans went crazy for their good old melodic and metallic rock’n’roll. Rocking harder than The Datsuns and more grown-up than The Vines, Pacifier were the real deal—that old breed of true rockers that makes crowds get up and headbang like they’re in middle school again.
In a bid for the big time, the band has packed up everything once more and moved to LA. They hooked up with producer Josh Abrahams, whose genius lies behind the success of Korn, Limp Bizkit and Staind, and the result is Pacifier, their U.S. debut.
“Bullitproof,” the first single, boasts a wall of distorted guitars and a chorus as scream-worthy as Linkin Park’s “In the End.” Likewise, “Comfort me” and “My Mind’s Sedate” are solid rock songs with guitars too heavy for punk and melodies too good for metal.
Pacifier’s attempts at softer ballads aren’t as successful, with the notable exception of the catchy “Everything.” With its explosive chorus, it’s possibly the best song on the album.
The music on Pacifier easily matches—and surpasses—that of their peers (Papa Roach’s Infest and Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory spring to mind). The question of whether it will enjoy the popularity of those platinum-selling albums remains to be seen. Is America in the mood for another bombastic nu-metal act? “Bullitproof” currently sits at No. 20 on MTV2’s Rock countdown. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess.
—who wrote me?
Ani DiFranco’s latest studio release finds her softening her unique style of urban folk to take on a more contemplative tone. A collaboration with the musicians who once made up her touring band, Evolve bears the excitement, energy and spontaneity of a live album, but still enjoys the polish of a finely tuned studio production.
As always with her work, Evolve derives its strength from DiFranco’s lyrics, acoustic pyrotechnics and soaring arrangements. The opener “Promised Land” grabs the ear with soft, open guitar chords and rich brass while Ani croons her standard worldly cynicism: “They say that the truth will set you free / But then so will a lie / It depends if you’re trying to get to the Promised Land / Or you’re just trying to get by.”
From this, the album moves to the upbeat and jazzy (“In the Way” and “Evolve”), the intellectually and lyrically driven (“Icarus”) and the somberly resigned (“Shrug”). In the title track she quips that “It took me too long to realize / That I don’t take good pictures / ’Cause I have the kind of beauty / That moves.” The album abounds with smile-inducing lines, giving it a welcome depth.
Ani no longer sounds as angry as she once did, but that does not mean that her work has lost its edge. On the contrary, it has reached new heights. —S. N. Jacobs