I'm not sure there's a slice of rock that has suffered more than pop, a genre that's been mercilessly inundated with thousands of pretenders to the 60s throne and a seat few can comfortably reside in. The 70s and 80s were so thick with dismal failures that one cam barely pass a vinyl rack in a used-record shop without choking. The main irritation has traditionally been twofold: 1) a much too slavish adherence to formulas and 2) the notion that colliding widely disparate recipes together is innovative. Brett Terry, I'm afraid, is guilty on both charges.
Instant History is a two-man horse, Terry and partner Eric Lichter, trotting down a path so well-worn that the equines hobbles themselves in their own ruts. Brett's vocals are faintly reminiscent of Lennon when the esteemed Beatle affected that ultra-vulnerable pose of his, and I've never been a fan of John's post-Beatles catalog so this is no virtue. Brett's version of the over-emotional ploy only works when clustered in by a lot of music. The moment he steps out in cuts like Peace of Mind, he reveals the intrinsic weakness of those vocal chords as an instrument.
There's a confluence of the Beatles, Zombies, Raspberries, Hollies, and all the usual suspects but none are much complimented in Instant History. I'd suggest Terry pay heed to The Buggles, Kayak, Barnaby Bye, and other combos for guidance. Those guys made new what was even then getting more treacly than ever around the edges. He might even look to the 'weird folk' movement; it's successfully figured out how to use venerable patterns in jarringly new ways.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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