36 Cents And A Dream: Long Ride Home

Title: Long Ride Home

Basics: 36 Cents And A Dream are comprised of three former members of the band Low Cut. The fourth worked on the solo album for Gin Blossom Scott Johnson. This all sounds promising, in a way, if by "promising" you mean "boring, painfully Arizona-y, country-twinged rock with raspy, underwhelming vocals." If that's what you mean, then we're all on the same page. 

If 36 Cents' music (and cornball name) don't get you, allow their MySpace page to dazzle your senses with such overwrought clichés as "Acoustic Goes Electric!!!" and "They'll Turn Their Amps To 11 For You!"

Best Song: The rather intriguing "Will She," is the second song out of the first three on the album to ask a question (without a question mark in the song title) as the basis for its chorus. In spite of that, the track has a pretty melodic bass line and opening guitar riff that keeps things interesting. Long Ride Home can get a bit repetitive, so having something rather melodic -- and something that doesn't quite sound like anything else on the album -- keeps me from falling off the edge of boredom. The song's guitar solo, however, is very Final Placement-esque, adding that healthy dose of amateurism that is unfortunately commonplace for the majority of YAFI albums.

Worst Song: "My Muse," by a landslide. Lead singer Heli Lanz constantly asks "Why don't you stay my muse?" throughout the song, teetering on the brink of full-blown annoyance. If being 36 Cents And A Dream's muse leads to garbage like this, then I think she's going to find someone else to inspire.

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Suggestions: Tone down the raspy, groggy vocals. If that's really how Heli Lanz talks, then I will back off. I don't, however, see that being the case. Write some better material. Some of the rhyme schemes are painfully predictable and the rhymes sound like they came from Mrs. Pendergraph's 3rd grade poetry contest. I know the band is Arizona based, but everyone in this state records crappy, country-twinged rock music -- there's no variation or differentiating characteristics about Long Ride Home. It sounds like the multitude of other lame, hastily thought out rock music Arizona produces. I know it's not easy to come up with original material and to take the time to record it, but will someone please at least try? It's okay to be different.

Grade: D (They don't get a D- for having a CD since the tracks were recognized by Gracenote).

Allow me to leave you with this quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: "An exclamation point is like laughing at your own jokes." Think about it.

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Michael Lopez
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85032

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