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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - The First Second

eclectic reviews and opinions

The First Second

The First Second

(self-released, 2005)

The First Second nearly hold my interest when they're quiet, but they lose it every time they kick into high gear. The rhythm section is solid: tight, spare drums and propulsive bass. Many of the songs groove harder than much acoustic rock does. The prominent cello and violin accents are unusual and tasteful. I like the spacious, ringing single-note acoustic guitar parts of "Ego," and the squalling atonality of "Fin"'s guitar intro. Singer Jessejames Locorriere is a vocal chameleon. When the band is in quiet mode he mostly whisper-sings. With the reverb turned up, he's almost Michael Stipe-y, and his baritone is inoffensive if not compelling. Unfortunately, when he sings full-voice, he adopts the nasal vowels of generic grunge singing -- a bit like the late Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, but with much less authority. That band's acoustic EPs might be a good reference point, but it's a comparison The First Second can't live up to. The songs drag on too long. Locorriere's lyrics are muddled at best. He sometimes manages an interesting line, but his devotion to strict rhyme usually makes him follow it with one that is both predictable and awkward.

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