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Sponge

Demoed in Detroit 1997-98

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is quite strong. There are a couple tunes that don't work as well for me, but overall, this is effective. There are three cover songs and two acoustic remakes of Sponge's best known numbers. Beyond that this is packed full of original rockers that have plenty of punk, power pop and more in the mix.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
How Much Do You Think of Love
While this is a straightforward, high energy and rather raw punk rocker, it has some solid hooks. It's almost like what you'd get if you blended DOA with Cheap Trick.
Fell in Deep

The mix on this one seems to make me think of a merging between Nirvana (the Kurt Cobain led version) with Off Broadway (the Chicago are power pop outfit) and Enuff Znuff. This is high energy, tastefully raw and so cool.

Falling for the Girls

I dig the hard rocking concept here. I can make out hints of Off Broadway again on this, but with more of a raw rocking angle.

Great Big Flop

This isn't a huge change, but is a bit slower and mellower than some of the rest. I can make out hints of Elvis Costello, but this has a rougher, almost metallic edge to it than that comparison suggests.

Love's a Killer

This hard rocking, driving tune is one of my favorites on this disc. It really rocks. It's also rather catchy.

Once in a Blue Moon

Power pop with a punk edge is the order of business here. This is solid (and a bit like Cheap Trick), but not a standout.

Laughing at Me

Take that Cheap Trick angle and mix it with Billy Idol's old band Generation X and some old school rock and roll and you'll be in the right zone with this one.

Get Down and Assumed the Position

This isn't a huge change, but it's a bit tougher and punkier.

What Are Good Friends for

A mellower tune, this is based on guitar and piano along with the voice. Yet the vocals bring a punk edge. The cut gets more powered up as it drives forward, but remains mellower than most of the music here. There are even horns later in the number.

Walk in My Shoes

Driving and rocking, this is also catchy. It's a fun stomper. It's not a huge change, but it definitely works well.

Turn Out the Lights
This rocker is another catchy one. It has a lot of punk with plenty of alternative rock in the mix.
Song for the End of the World
I applaud this cut for the variety it brings. It's not my favorite track here, though. It seems a little awkward. The horns are a nice touch, though, and this mellower alternative rock vibe is intriguing.
Someone to Talk to
Power pop, new wave and punk rock merge on this catchy and rather playful piece. It's a standout.
Break on Through

A cover of the classic Doors tune, they bring this into an almost metal approach. This thing is so cool. It's a huge change from the original. It's also one of the highlights here.

My Generation
While this is a bit more on the raw side than the original Who version of the song, it's pretty close to what you expect from this tune. I love the bass work on it, and this really rocks.
Born to Be Wild
I like the raw edge to this take on Steppenwolf. There is a real immediacy to this. The punk, alternative concept works so well on this screamer. The instrumental movement later in the track really brings the 90s alternative elements to bear. When they drop it to a short mellower bit at the end, it makes for an interesting twist.
Plowed (Acoustic Pilot Mix)
Piano and vocals are the driving points here, but there is some acoustic guitar in the mix, too. This is an intriguing piece that works really well. In fact, it's one of my favorites here.
Molly (16 Candles Down the Drain) (Mad Piano Mix)
Another nice bit of variety, this features acoustic guitar, piano and vocals. Weird textures and piano take the piece at the end. It's a bit weird, but quite cool as it stretches out before eventually fading down to end.
 
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