'Cause 7 Ate 9
First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2003, Volume 10, #12
Written by John Metzger
The members of Carbondale very well may spend the rest of their lives asking the question: What if? Everything seemed to be moving along in the proper direction for the band, which appeared as well-suited as any ensemble to become rock ’n‘ roll’s "next big thing." The group had built a reputation and loyal following within New York City’s underground music scene, which resulted in a contract with RCA Records. Its debut ’Cause 7 Ate 9 was originally scheduled for release this past March, but after a change in management at its label, Carbondale suddenly found itself without a home. Forced to buy back the rights to its own music, the group now is proceeding on its own, but without the big money and promotional support a major label can provide, the road suddenly has become a far more difficult one to traverse.
For certain, Carbondale’s success has never been guaranteed, but its power pop brand of alternative rock is the type of thing the industry is good at pushing to the top of the charts. Indeed, there’s nothing truly unique about Carbondale’s sound. Its charming melodies are made buoyant by loud, crunchy guitars, and its lyrics touch upon the usual subjects of life and love. Neither a stunningly great band nor a horrifically bad one, Carbondale falls somewhere right smack in the middle, being somewhat of a guilty pleasure whose inoffensive songs could easily be mistaken for those of Matchbox Twenty, Fastball, Train, Phantom Planet, or Counting Crows. Even within that realm, the songs on ’Cause 7 Ate 9 stumble more than they succeed, although tracks like the soaring anthem A Place in the Sun, the folk-flair of Surrounded, and the head-bobbing grooves of The Lotto and The Enemy demonstrate that Carbondale has enough talent to craft the type of infectious hit singles that are typically devoured by the modern rock radio audience. Therefore, the biggest obstacle standing in the group’s path to success is that without a major label backing the songs, the Clear Channel conglomerate that controls virtually every media market undoubtedly won’t even consider adding them to its rotation, begging the question: What if? ˝
'Cause 7 Ate 9 is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box