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You Asked For It: Seven Car Pileup

Seven Car Pileup
Seven Car Pileup

With all the American Idol in Phoenix fever it took me awhile to sit down and do this week's You Asked For It. Luckily, Seven Car Pileup, was a nice change of pace, sounding like nothing you'll ever hear on Idol. Unless, that is, Chris Daughtry brings his band back with him for one of those late season inspirational performances. In that case, well, 7CP sounds a lot like what you'll hear on Idol.

Mark Mason doesn't quite have Chris's pipes, but he and band mates Jess Pruitt and Mike Vigil share the bald heartthrob's passion for '90s-redux alt-rock, though, admittedly, 7CP has rougher edges than many contemporary alt-rock types - more like Seven Mary Three.

On their self-titled debut 7CP best when they're mellow. "Oxymoron" is the standout track, an introductory riff Butch Vig would love, followed by a slow swell to a Toadies-type deadpanned refrain. "Steve McQueen," their ballsy rocker, on the other hand, falls short. Not only has the Steve McQueen song thing already been done, the lyrics ("When you need a change of scene/I will be your Steve McQueen") seem a little forced, especially given that these dudes are definitely not old enough to actually view Steve McQueen as a tough guy icon, nor are they in any way badass enough to be anyone's Steve McQueen.

"Outta My Mind" and "New DNA" start out jammy, and never totally loses that vibe. Mason's vocals are weak on "Outta My Mind" but at their best on "New D.N.A.," giving more emotion than you'll hear in most jams. Regrettably, on both tracks (especially the latter) they also resort to playing with sound effects a few times in the song, creating an unfortunate distraction that I found incredibly annoying.

Overall, Seven Car Pileup is a competent, if derivative, record. Though I'm bored by the sound, it's remained incredibly popular through this decade, and I don't doubt they'll find plenty of fans here in Phoenix, especially with more quiet, moody songs like "Oxymoron."

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to submit a CD for review, please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

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