SR-71 – Now You See Inside

SR-71
Now You See Inside

Ah, the glories of a rock metaphor. This Baltimore, Md. band named themselves after the SR-71, a stealth aircraft that is the fastest plane ever built. This thing can fly at the edge of outer space at mach 3.2, for goodness sake. But in terms of reaching heights, SR-71 the band doesn’t live up to their namesake.

Frankly, this band is a major label band, as you can tell from the RCA Records. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a band on a major label, and I don’t promote the whole “indier than thou” attitude, but this just reeks of major label. I can list a few dozen bands that I’ve heard on FM radio that these guys don’t just sound like but almost sound like they’ve ripped off. I’m not up on the latest popular one-hit wonders, but I automatically think of Blink 182, Smashmouth, Sugar Ray, Matchbox 20, Fuel, and a host of others.

That aside, taking this album strictly on its own merits, it’s not the style of rock that I prefer to listen to right now. But, regardless, the band themselves are pretty talented. There is some downright kick-ass rock guitar here, and the band uses backing vocals well to add harmonies to even the most rocking tracks. And the band does mix things up, going from pop-punk to straight-forward rock, to a much more 80’s influenced pop style.

“Well, I don’t mean to piss you off with things I might have said,” kicks off the whole album, leading into a poppy little rocker called “Politically Correct.” And “Right Now” chugs along like a cross between a Blink 182 song and Smashmouth, but at least the guitar is good. “What a Mess” starts atmospheric and pretty cool, but it turns into something that reminds me of Savage Garden, not too fast and not too bad, but still a little too typical. Now, I really like “Last Man on the Moon,” because it has an 80’s, Police-inspired feel to it and some bass-driven pop structure. “Another Night Alone” reminds me of a more poppy grunge song, maybe a pretty Foo Fighters tune. “Alive” is another one that starts off slow and subdued, actually original and nice, but it turns into a Fuel song. “Go Away” is mostly acoustic and slower, and even though it reminds me of Third Eye Blind, it’s probably the best and most original song here.

As far as airplanes go, there’s probably nothing that’s cooler than a jet that can go faster than anything else ever built. But as far as bands go, SR-71 is hovering right around 35,000 feet with just about every other band out there. They have the talent to go higher and faster, I believe, but that might mean losing their major label backing. So I’ll pass on the band for now with a nod to talent and a cringe at radio-friendly sameness.