Every once in awhile, a band comes out with a new release that's so odd musically you wonder just exactly where it is they are coming from. Although not really unique, Philmore presents their debut album in an odd way-- a mix of 80s metal and punk rock.
The album, which is fully designed as an 80s album-- from the cover with metallic logo with lens flare to the disc itself which looks like an old 80s rock release (or rerelease). It's odd in every way. Even the band photos present the trio as wearing black shirts with ripped blue jeans at the knees, sporting classic 80s/early 90s guitars and even wearing huge Tom Cruise, Top Gun-style sunglasses. I have to admit, I'm not sure how to take the band. Do we take them seriously? Or are they just having fun? I've seen them live and they seemed to perform their metal "poses" pretty seriously. One has to wonder if they're serious about their music, or will be chuckling in the corner on the release date of the album at everyone who thinks so.
The self-titled album begins with the pop/punk "Together," a song that sets the record straight immediately on where they stand with the Lord. They're blatantly a Christian band with a message, and they're not afraid to let you know. The one-minute long, "Smile at Me," follows, a faster-paced punk tune, which by the way, has a hilarious music video made for it if you get a chance to see it, starring cameos by two Five Iron Frenzy boys, Toby McKeehan of dc Talk, and Steve Taylor.
"Our Finest Hour" is almost funny. It's not meant to be, but this straight-up 80s rock/metal tune is something odd to hear from a bunch of young guys in the year 2000. It's not a bad tune, but it does tend to get a little monotonous at the end. A real album treat, however, is the decent cover of Jon Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer." The only problem is vocalist Just Greiman's slightly misplaced vocals. They tend to be a little high and flat for the song, leaving the original to be a superior effort.
"Never Let You Go" is a slower pop/punk song, while "If You Only Know" seems more like a slower MxPx track. The latter, being the better. "In My Boat" slows things down in a very Starflyer 59 kind of way before breaking into a punk rock style. "Fishy" starts off with bassist, Kayle's silly vocals to start off the light-hearted punk song about God giving them the perfect mate. The next three songs are pretty much along the same lines. "As I Lift My Hands" starts out much like "In My Boat" before breaking into a rock ballad chorus. With the album ending with this successful tune, the listener may wonder why there aren't more polished songs like this on the album preceding it.
Good, but leaving plenty of room for improvement, Philmore makes an average debut. However, with time and some more experience, Philmore could be a really good rock band in the near future.- Review date: 6/19/00, written by John DiBiase
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