Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dead Plants

Rosemary's Garden
Rosemary's Garden

It's a big wide world of music out there, and what separates what gets heard from what goes unnoticed isn't usually whether there's any underlying quality. Most of the time, it's whether somebody is around to pay for it or not. All credit to those bands who live in flophouses and sleep on people's floors for years because they believe in their art. You guys send me your demos and I'll see about getting you some fans, or at least a shower.

I don't know who paid for Michael-Louis de Terre's debut as Rosemary's Garden, but I'm pretty sure the investment was money down the drain. These tedious 14 songs are pretty obviously the first 14 songs de Terre has ever written, as they all feature square chord changes (every one right on the bar), arrangements that might as well be a synthesizer demo, and embarrassingly poor lyrics. Every song is much the same as the last, but "Adelaide" is a good microcosm of the whole -- there's an initially promising riff, a few decent lines in de Terre's pleasantly weary, Tom Petty-like voice, but then it doesn't change or go anywhere for what seems like forever. The singer sings the same line over and over again, the drums and bass plod squarely through the grand total of two parts, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Nothing else on the record is any different. Not one of the songs has even the slightest hint of dynamic changes. "I Can't Understand" rips off Beethoven, for a bit of a break from the norm. Mostly it's self-indulgent, self-impressed garbage with as little imagination as the song titles: "Flower Song," "I Belong to You," "Garden Song," "Scary Song," "River Song." Rosemary's Garden can come up with a good melody or hook every once in a while, but the songs that have them are almost worse than the flat ones, since de Terre inevitably repeats the same one or two patterns again and again until what initial shine the song's idea might have had is worn down to dust.

“I represent the new, emerging, independent, multifaceted artist,” the auteur boasts hollowly on his MySpace page. “I am the epitome of an artist who can produce music, package and sell a product, create a brand, book a tour and hire a publicist… all without a label of any kind.” Well, that's great that you have money. That doesn't make you an artist of any kind.

Rosemary's Garden play at Momo's Saturday, October 24th and the Saxon Pub Sunday the 25th.

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