OBITS: Moody, Standard and Poor: CD/LP

May 13, 2011

Since their debut (I Can’t Lose) in 2009, Obits have seemed like the next logical step from where vocalist/guitarist Rick Froberg’s previous act, Hot Snakes, left off. It’s a sound that is a little mellower with less fast songs and some surf and blues influence. It marks some progression away from Hot Snakes, but with Froberg’s recognizable vocals, it’s hard to escape a comparison to his last band. That’s why it’s nice to hear Sohrab Habibion, the other guitarist, sing two songs on this album, as he has a smoother voice that stands in contrast to Froberg and helps round out the sound of Obits. However, while the songs are still catchy, they seem to be formulaic with a format that was developed on many Hot Snakes tunes. It’s hard to describe, but listening to Moody, Standard and Poor I feel as though I’m listening to a lot of the same songs over and over again. And, overall, they comprise a weaker batch of songs than were on I Can’t Lose. Yes, the songs will still get stuck in your head on occasion, but they seem to lack any passion, direction, or newness that was present with the band’s first release or most Hot Snakes material. Perhaps I’m doomed to forever be disappointed to some degree since I find it hard to compare anything against Froberg’s mid-’90s band, Drive Like Jehu, but Moody, Standard and Poor is a disappointment from an artist whose work until now I have found to be inventive and fervent.

 –kurt (Sub Pop)