Expectations run high when a band boldly names itself after
the lead-off track from, of all things, an album by Eno, in this case, Another Green World. And the fact that
drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, best known as Smashing Pumpkins’ second in command,
anchors the aforesaid outfit speaks volumes as well. Then again, dashed hopes
and diminishing returns might just as easily accompany the initial brouhaha,
which makes anything less than an admirable debut akin to failure. How then can
a fledgling outfit win when the options seem so limiting?
In this case the answer seems to reside in terrain that
plows the middle ground between blissful and bombastic. The latter expanse
would naturally be expected to dominate due to Chamberlin’s involvement of
course, but it’s to the trio’s credit that they opt to apply the brakes and
allow some discretion to mesh into the proceedings. Vocalist Mike Reina
and guitarist Anthony Pirog also hold up their end of the bargain in this ten
song set that proves immensely listenable from start to finish and actually
scales higher peaks as it works its way forward. No, there’s nothing especially
life changing to be plied from this collective, but Great Civilizations does occasionally bow to its handle with some
sweeping sentiment. Indeed, songs such as the effusive “No One Can Tell,” a
soaring “Nothing’s Ever Easy,” and the ever-insistent title track diminish any
cause to quibble about Chamberlin’s intent. A fair amount of elegiac sentiment
does the same, and all told, it offers reason to cheer.
Mainly though, Great Civilizations excels on its own merits, a damn fine debut due
the kudos the press is bound to toss its way. Onward and upwards, Skysaw.
Cheers to this trio indeed.
DOWNLOAD: “Great Civilizations,”
“Nothing’s Ever Easy,” “No One Can Tell” LEE ZIMMERMAN