A lot of bands have had an influence on me over the years. One band that has always been there when I think of my musical roots is Live. In 1994 they came out with the classic album “Throwing Copper”. It featured some of my favorite songs ever and made me love music. Ever since then I’ve moved on to bigger and better things, but I always have known that “Throwing Copper” was an album I would never forget. Here it is, twelve years after “Throwing Copper” is released and I’m walking up to the CD section in Target and on the new releases I immediately see the “on sale now only $8.98” tag and me being the cheap person I am have almost already decided to buy whatever it is. And then I see it, Live: “Songs From Black Mountain”. At first I think that it couldn’t be them and it was a live album by someone, but no, it is the real deal. Joy of joys, I’m about to go on a nostalgia trip. Maybe Live could recreate the magic they made on “Throwing Copper”, but maybe they would do exactly that, but dumb it down.
It’s a little of both actually. “The River”
opens up and immediately hit songs such as “Lightning Crashes”
spring into the back of the mind. Ed Kowalozyk’s voice is as memorable as it was so many years ago. Half way through everything is going well and seems like the start of something great. It continues that way with “Mystery”
as well. Ed hasn’t lost his ability to pen some meaningful lyrics and the whole band shows that they’re still able to write well-structured songs, especially when it comes to the bridge of the song. It’s menacing. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of a love that does transcend. Mine eyes have seen the worst inside of man. And fear is like a falling bridge. A broken promise. And the proof is in the bloodshot eyes of the one who failed to see.” Therein lies the problem. A lot of “Songs From Black Mountain” is great, but it’s completely unoriginal. Sometimes it seems like “Throwing Copper”, but redone and watered down. That goes for the standout songs too. The ones that aren’t particularly impressive are completely dull and not exciting at all. The basic sound of the album is the standard fare with either an electric, or acoustic guitar starting everything off with Ed singing eventually and it takes a while for the rest of the band to come in. “Throwing Copper” at least had songs that sounded different. There’s nothing exciting like “*** Towne”
, or epic as “I Alone”
. This new album is just rerun after rerun.
“Songs From Black Mountain” would have been a hit fifteen years ago. Even right after the years of “Throwing Copper” it would have been obvious that this album is a desperate grab for a past glory. The biggest problem is that most songs sound like early 90s rip-offs from Alice In Chains to Tom Petty, or just Live themselves. It’s a huge shame. The songs are written well, but don’t differentiate from them each other. “The River”
, and “Love Shines (A Song For My Daughters About God)”
may make a bid for classic status, but when they’re about to reach the top they all realize they already were there, but just as a different version of themselves. “Songs From Black Mountain” is nice throughout, no doubt about that, but never truly stands out either.