In 1997, after phenomenal freshman and sophomore albums, Oasis released Be Here Now. Even though many critics liked the album, some criticized the overproduced sound and bloated length. Oasis had tried to go from early Beatles to White Album Beatles overnight and while the album sold well it was still considered a disappointment. It sort of spiraled downhill from there. “Bonehead” Arthurs and Paul McGuigan left the band, the brothers Gallagher continued to fight tooth and nail against each other and the band was never the same. Thus, the curse of potential reared its ugly head.
In 2012, The Technicolors have released their sophomore album The Listener and again I’m struck by the curse of potential. There are moments on this album where they really shine, “Alive Everafter”, “Fake a Smile” and “Wicked Game” a cover of Chris Isaak’s classic song. In those moments you get a real sense of what this band is capable of and how good they truly can be. There are a few other songs that show signs of life, but for the rest of the album I hearken back to the criticism of Be Here Now, “Bloated, overproduced, disjointed.” This is a band that is on the precipice of either being really good or fading into the mist of averageness.
In 2012 it’s not easy to be a band. The competition is staggering and to set yourself aside from the pack you really have to stand out. When you listen to songs, such as: “Wicked Game”, even though it isn’t their song, you get a feel for how powerful Brennan Smiley’s voice is, but then you get to songs like “Hollywood” and he’s drowned out by masturbatory solos that have no rhyme or reason. It’s a problem I see with many bands that want to be hard rockers, but don’t want to focus on the most important part of being a rocker, the vocals. Led Zeppelin had Jimmy Page, arguably one of the top three guitarists of all-time and yet he never drowned out Robert Plant, Slash never drowned out Axl and Jimi never drowned himself out. It is rule number in the Band 101 class: you must hear the lead singer.
This band is pissing away their potential on hyperbole. Instead of putting together distinctly memorable albums, they’re writing two or three good songs and shitting out filler for the rest of it. This band is good, but they could be great. It’s not a question of want, either. No band goes into a recording session thinking an album isn’t great. Now, on their second album, The Technicolors are at a crossroads, do they go the route of Oasis and keep making overproduced, bloviated drivel or do they take the next step in the process and become the band they can be? Do they break the curse of potential that ruins so many bands and actually make that brilliant album they’re capable or making? Do they fritter away what amounts to be a huge amount of talent only to revert to mediocrity? Or do they start over from square one and really make a push at greatness?
In the movie A Bronx Tale the main character Calogero repeats a line that has been ingrained in his head from his mentor and gangster Sonny, he says, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” Like Calogero that mantra has stuck with me as well. It’s not enough to be good at something; there are millions of great guitar players on the street corners of cities all over the world. You have to be almost maniacal about it. You have to breath it, live it, love it more than you love anything else, your talent defines you. This album does not do this band justice and if they want this to be their defining moment then wasted talent is the pall that will hang over their head for the rest of their days.