Review Summary: A good album, with some good catchy music, but clouded by guidelines, a safety blanket embroiled by $ symbols, and a whole lot of crying out, but not much to say.
Back when kids were listening to grunge, the news of Nirvana
’s passing and the continual demise of the genres itself, meant that the emergence of Killing Heidi
in 2000 was everything an aspiring Australian adolescent who just missed the grunge era could ever have hoped for. Vocalist Ella Hooper’s own desire to be ‘different’ is a place where you’ll discover the ins and outs, and the lows and highs of an angsty teenager (no surprises there), priming if you will, the future youth, but in a less demanding manner then your typical grunge or punk band would. Arguably, they began as most bands do, until the contract came along with a horde of guidelines and requirements. This means that Reflector
is an album where the surprising commercial success of Silverchair
defines the sound, packages it, but offers it to the listener with more colour, and the idea of grunge-pop obscuring the music behind it.
It’s hard to try and describe exactly where Heidi obtained their name (possibly from the novel), and how and where they actually formed. Simply put however, Violet Town (population ~500) in semi-regional Victoria, Australia is where the Hooper siblings first began playing music as any brother and sister should
. With Ella on vocals and her brother Jesse on guitars the garage band resounded their post-grunge tunes all throughout the happy community, gathering both gooey and bad reactions, particularly from the unfortunate elderly. This disturbance of miniature proportions interestingly caused enough outside reaction to have both the Hooper’s and their two co-members Adam Pedretti and Warren Jenkin (who form the rhythm section), gather a wealth of preliminary radio airplay for a few demo songs. Furthermore, it also caught the unbroken interest of producer and songwriter Paul Kosky, who in search of a group to complete his recording contract, took upon the task of recording and releasing the group’s debut.
Kosky’s expertise is crucial to the commercial success of this album clearly. He and Heidi spent quite some time rehearsing and arranging before admitting themselves to the studio. The album itself yields some catchy and sweetly produced singles, such as “Mascara”
, and finally “Life Without You”
, all of which are thoroughly enjoyable. You can’t necessarily approach the impression of every album with seriousness, but the main dilemma that does surface quite quickly is that most of the tracks nibble fruitlessly at the unexciting equation of slow verse, hard chorus and back again, with predictable musical accompaniment from either synthesizers or strings. It’s ok to reiterate similar ideas during an album, but sometimes it becomes tedious, and more likely to generate a selective stance from the listener rather then a general appreciation, making Reflector a success for the group, but less of a success from which they could anchor any further recordings, given that their main sound is derived from places that were already at dead ends.