Friday, April 25, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 92: Spacehog - Resident Alien

Album - Resident Alien
Artist - Spacehog
Key Players - Richard Steel - guitar. Jonny Cragg - drums, percussion, backing vocals, Antony Langdon - guitar, vocals, Juno 60, B-3, Moog. Royston Langdon - Lead Vocals, bass, Moog, B-3.
Produced By - Bryce Goggin and Spacehog

Release Date - October 24, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust?
- I caught myself singing the lead off single "In the Meantime" a week or so ago and I was drawn back to the album.

Overview - Spacehog formed in New York City in 1994. The band members all from Leeds, England drew influences from glam rock and stadium rock to form a unique sound. The band would reach a commercial success with this, the debut. Two other records would follow along with extensive touring. The band would dissolve in 2002.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Opening with a sample of a ring tone for UK telephones the lead off track "In The Meantime" swoops all over the listener. The bass line is smooth before the the "ooooo wwweee weee ohhhhh" fades up (come on we've all sung it). The bass actually plays a strong active role during the verses and then the chorus the band will all come in on. A great lead off track. A little more of a chaotic intro brings up "Spacehog". The guitars swirl from speaker to speaker (or headphone right to left) and the vocals are a little more gruff. The guitar has a light jangle to it but after the second first the guitar solo is brought up and it is actually quite flashy all things considered. "Starside" fades up with a single guitar with a second doing a single note slide before the bass and drums come in. Royston has a strong voice and keeps his vocals comfortably within his range. He sort of tries some falsetto moments here and that rolls in to the chorus. The song overall feels like it plods along though with some piano/keyboard before a little more hard hitting guitar solo that later sounds like a cast off solo that Queens' Brian May might do (well in sound). Another strong intro to "Candyman" grabs the listener right away. By the first verse the band has slowed it down some. Acoustic guitar sets the pace as the bass and drums hold a solid back beat. As the chorus approaches there is some more vocal swelling. For a song that sort of feels "samey" it has a pretty infections groove. You very well may find yourself singing along. The music ends but there is a short spoken section which attempts to emulate a religious service. This all leads to "Space Is The Place". This song has a more punk rock feel. The guitars move along at a good clip and the lyrics are sung just as swift. This is really the first "fast" track on the record. Counting off with a "1 -2 -3 -4" the guitar and harmonica introduce "Never Coming Down (Part I)". With hand claps and whispery vocals it feels a little out of place. "Cruel To Be Kind" quickly has you forgetting what you just heard (for better or worse). This was also a single released to radio. The piano is more up on the chorus and the guitars maintain a punch laid over a simple drum back beat. At the outset of "Ship Wrecked", the listener is back to a quiet intro. A single guitar slowly fades up before the ride cymbal comes in. This is the "sensitive side" of Spacehog..and to these ears it is just boring for the bulk of the track. About the three minute mark the band gets moving a little more but its a little too late honestly..but in saying that the guitar solo that comes in about 4:20 almost all but makes up for it. Two guitars really feeding off one another as the bass will punch up here and there. They got this song about 60% right to my ears. Oddly "Only A Few" is the first track that is primarily lead at the intro by the drums. For a good 30 seconds it is just the drums and keyboards before a few guitar riffs come in. It has a bouncy beat and Royston again shines vocally here. The song has a good feel, but feels like it would be fine in the back ground if that makes sense. You'd neither offend or impress new fans with this track, that really doesn't make sense in typing it..but it makes sense to the ears. "The Last Dictator" comes up a little more urgent. The guitar and drum gives you the feeling we are headed for a rocker, but seem to settle down some come the verse. "Never Coming Down (Part II)" is the polar opposite of the acoustic version earlier. This is a very fun and catchy track with the chorus of "ooohs and ahhs". The band is smart and they sing the chorus almost that "one too many times" but honestly you won't mind. "Zeroes" has a marching drum roll with the two guitars playing off one another with light riff work. Again they nail it on the chorus. A real hidden gem (as I add to said mp3 player!). I actually hit repeat on this when I was giving it the listen for this write up, a real hidden gem. The album wraps up with "To Be A Millionaire....Was It Likely?". The track has a happy acoustic led, hand clapping bounce to it. It would sound good around a campfire or an open mic night in some coffee shop. (there is a "hidden" track 14+ minutes after the completion of the prior song but its not even a song its a freaking waste of time)

Where are they now? As noted Spacehog disbanded in 2002. Royston has been married to actress Liv Tyler since 2003. He would also work with with some members of Blind Melon in a project later called The Tender Trio, but they too disbanded in 2006. The band has come close to re-forming as whole a few times as the band "Arckid".

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- February 23, 1996 at the Paradise in Boston I saw the band (with Mr. Miranga and God Lives Underwater). The show was a packed sweaty affair and the crowd was ravenous. On September 11, 1999 I saw them open for REM and finally on June 11, 2001 opening for the Black Crowes and Oasis (i know..odd bill for sure). I don't recall much at all regarding the two opening slots.

FDF Overall Take - I'll be honest when I say I can't tell you the last time I listened to this record front to back before this "re-listen". For the most part I personally find it to be a half "great" record. The good tracks really stand out. Some of the others seem to fall a little flat with me personally. I don't own their other two releases, but honestly I am curious.


Arckid on myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**Mp3's have been removed**
In the Meantime
Never Coming Down (Pt II)

All three tracks taken from "Resident Alien" which you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 8:50 AM, Blogger B. said...

We own this album and rocked out many times to it in high school!

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Jason said...

I'm still pissed that we missed almost all of Mr. Mirainga's set that night!

At 9:18 PM, Blogger JamieSmitten said...

Another album I pull out at least once a year. "Do what you want, be what you want to be." Never saw them live though. : (

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Ello said...

I do not know this one at all! Very interested though!

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Ryan of the RSL blog said...

I should read your blog more.


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