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[Off The Record]
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Producer GGGarth Richardson is best known for the work heís done with hard-hitting metal bands off the alterna- and classical variety ó Kittie, Rage Against the Machine, L7, and Kiss are some of the projects heís helped bring a hefty crunch to. But with Viberate, the sophomore album by the female-fronted Canadian foursome Joydrop, Richardson proves heís equally capable of capturing the nuances and subtleties of a more textured, atmospheric brand of rock. He isnít on entirely foreign terrain here ó Viberate is rife with sinewy guitars. (Indeed, this isnít the first time Joydrop have worked with a producer whose name is synonymous with the hard stuff ó Ron St. Germain, whose résumé includes Soundgarden, 311, and Creed, helmed the bandís Tommy Boy debut, Metasexual.) But Tara Sloneís forceful vocals are the central feature of songs that, accented by programmed synths and electronic effects, veer from riff-driven choruses to melodic verses laced with elastic bass ( " Thick Skin " ) and keyboard lines ( " American Dreamgirl " ). Most of these numbers deal with the ups and downs of romance, and Slone delivers a mix of emotions, conveying confidence and uncertainty, joy and sadness, pain and pleasure. That same balance is reflected in the arrangements, which rely on alterna-rockís familiar quiet-loud-quiet dynamics without resorting to tired clichés.


Issue Date: August 30 - September 6, 2001

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