A Place in Time
First Appeared at The Music Box, November 2000, Volume 7, #11
Written by Michael Karpinski
Save for the rare exception, drummers tend to be the Rodney Dangerfields of rock: They get no respect. Just ask Pete Best (or Ringo, for that matter). The select few who do manage to achieve some measure of lasting legacy usually do so as much through grotesque overdose or ghastly amputation as through actual talent (Keith Moon, John Bonham, Def Leppard's Rick Allen). For most, there is simply a necessary resignation to dim, back-of-the-stage oblivion while preening lead singers and solo-happy axe-men lay claim to the affections of the panting, panties-proffering punters up front.
With A Place in Time, former Badfinger beatkeeper Mike Gibbins looks to follow in the footsteps of Karen Carpenter, Don Henley, Phil Collins, and Dave Grohl by stepping out from behind his kit and successfully occupying the frontman's bedazzling, ego-tweaking spotlight. Alas, some drummers are better suited for the shadows.
Beginning, appropriately enough, with a drum-filled intro, A Place in Time is obviously intended as a one-man extravaganza, as evidenced by the telling liner note: "All songs written, produced, recorded & engineered by Mike Gibbins." Ironic, then, that the most noteworthy musicianship on the record belongs to guitarist/bassist Rick Warsing, whose tuneful contributions can only go so far to keep this creaky boat afloat. Gibbins is anything but bashful about wearing his influences on his sleeve — whether they're Pink Floyd (Pictures of You, Overdue), The Beatles (Please Please, Time In), or even ELO (Layaway). The toothless Bad Boy Blues could use a rapid infusion of George Thorogood snark and snarl. Even the seven-minute-plus Day after Night might have made for a satisfyingly bloated opus, if it didn't so closely resemble the seven-minute-plus title track.
Too often, A Place in Time sounds like a record that is out of time — not, alas, because it offers us a collection of timeless, transcendent melodies, but because it serves up a hash we have already heard, to better effect, too many times before.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box