Album Review :
Homeless J - Three Seconds to Gaze

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Band: Homeless J.
Title: Three Seconds To Gaze
Label: Selectric
Release Date: 5/2/06
Reviewed By: Josh IndieVision

Tracklisting:

01. The Flash
02. Beauty Boy
03. To Uona
04. B-Fly
05. Did You See It?
06. Slip
07. Sister
08. Man On The Radio
09. Bra In The Window
10. Not The Sun
11. If I Could Raise Myself From The Dead

Members:

Chad Vanmeter
Brad Amstutz
Jon Hill
Matt Minnick
Lance Hill

Ft. Wayne, Indiana is the home of Homeless J, a band that has been together, under the radar, since the early 90’s. The band is primed, yet again, to be put on the Modern Rock map. I say once again, because opportunity passed them by once already. A few years back the band had gained enough exposure to attract major label interests, of which MCA was the winner. The band’s album was prepared for release when MCA folded and shut it’s doors. Sadly, that left many bands floating in the water yet again, including Homeless J.

A few years later the band signed with the new rock label, Selectric, and have finally been able to bring forth a debut, “Three Seconds To Gaze”. An album that somehow molds broad influences into a cohesive effort, the likes of which I’ve not heard in quite awhile. Homeless J. takes us back to the earlier era’s of Christian hard rock with bands like Holy Soldier, while somehow adding a modern flair.

Heavy bass is prevalent in many tracks and is nice to hear it stand apart. Most often it’s set back to a simple rhythm keeper but it holds its own here, using some nice finger work. The guitar work is sporatic at times, utilizing pedals wisely, and then quickly gives way to heavily strummed patterns. The drums are steady and thorough and keep things steadily moving along. These elements blend quite well together and allow each other to mix into a whole rather than standing individually.

Vanmeter delivers haunting and captivating vocals, which serve to round out this quintet. He is a Lutheran minister and clearly shows his faith amidst interesting lyrics (“B-Fly”, “Did You See It?”) and deals with various periods of loss/hopelessness in others (“Sister”, “Man On The Radio”).

Standout Tracks:

“Beauty Boy”, “Did You See It”

Overall Rating: An engaging, charismatic debut release. For the most part, it’s a stand up rock release. Not too heavy and not too poppy. They fit in the same arena that U2 calls home, with their ability to appeal to hard rock fans looking for something different, combined with the friendly catchiness of melodic pop rock. An overall enjoyable release.

Individual Ratings:

Album Art/Design: I really like the artwork, especially the front cover. I guess to keep up with the haunting & mysterious vibe Homeless J. presents, the lyrics are left out. Thankfully, I was able to have them sent to me.

Lyrics: The Flash (Vanmeter) uses his poetic style to reveal his soul. He effortlessly shields meanings with mystery. At times quite hard to decipher what he’s really speaking about. It truly is enjoyable to read through his lyrics but sadly they are not including in the booklet.

Marketability: I gave a lower rating here because this can be a very hard cd to get into. The mumbled style vocals are sometimes hard to pick out which makes for a hard radio track. However, they are presenting a breath of fresh air to the rock world at the same time. It’s hard to tell if it will catch on or not, but my guess is it will sell alright but don’t expect anything huge.

Production: The production on this album is fairly average. Nothing outstanding but well done. No complaints that I can pick out.

Vocals: The Flash’s style is a mix of many influences. Perry Ferrell came to mind when I first popped the disc in. The style is more along the lines of the grunge era, with it’s mumbled, at times hard to decipher, approach. He has decent range and his voice at times reveals hints of Bono. It’d probably improve their appeal if he leaned more in that direction.

Similar To: U2, Jane’s Addiction, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead

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