Ahh Powderfinger, why didn't you stay like this?
Double Allergic was the second full length by the Brisbane band Powderfinger, it was released in 1996. Due to a couple of catchy songs, it got them widely recognized, and subsequently snatched away by the beast that is mainstream music. But still, Double Allergic comes with an undefinable decency that can only be realized by listening. I'm sure plenty of people know what I mean by that. I won't mention the instrument playing as there isn't much to say, it's innovative enough to bust out some different styles, but there's nothing super special worth saying.
Powderfinger's first album Parables For Wooden Ears was somewhat experimental, and Double Allergic does carry over a bit of this. Mostly in the instrument playing and some of the unusual styles used, and even some of the themes and lyrics are quirky, e.g. Skinny Jean is about people being obsessed with health food, "They say you like it sun dried, tell me, is that right?", D.A.F. being named after the chord progression used in the verse, and Come Away/the CD suddenly ending while the music is still going along quite happily.
I could say with confidence that each song has it's own distinct sound, styles are spread throughout the rock spectrum, with some experimentation to keep it interesting. For example, there's something close to hardcore in Come Away, disco in Glimpse, J.C. has some good rootsy sounding acoustic rock with a great string section.
So there's some pretty straight forward rock too, and I can see why the mainstream monster picked on them, Pick You Up, D.A.F. and Living Type were singles released off it.
There's some no frills harder songs on here too, like Give, S.S., and Turtle's Head. For some reason. It seems all the no frills songs are also the least interesting songs to me, however I think it's because they are surrounded by much more interesting stuff, not because they are poor songs.
It's the experimental bits that made me like Double Allergic, and the few Powderfinger songs I've heard since this have been lacking that, which saddens me, as they have shown some potential with this and earlier work. Maybe the radio will only play the straight forward stuff, and I have missed it, if so, someone tell me.
Overall, it's a fairly accessible, yet solid rock album. The diversity within the rock genre is good, even if most of it has been done before, at least they didn't repeat themselves within the album. I would call just one or two songs filler, and this would just be an average if they didn't experiment the way they did, so I'm glad they did, but... even though it's good, I think they could have done just a little bit better.
Plain and simple, Powderfinger like they are these days?
Pick You Up
Something a bit different, but not too much?
Take Me In