Jody Whitesides – E.nergy A.udio R.evolution

Jody Whitesides
E.nergy A.udio R.evolution

Jody Whitesides’ music sounds like some weird mix of grunge, industrial, and funk rock, three styles that really don’t seem to mix well. But Whitesides has managed to mix them with a reasonable degree of success. There’s obviously a lot of very different things going on here. Mix angry, pulsating guitar riffs with drum loops and digitized samples, all with Whitesides’ vocals possessing a bar-band rock mentality. Like maybe if Collective Soul, Orgy, and Soundgarden all had a bastard child, Whitesides would be that child.

“Publicity” starts off with pulsating guitar riffs, an angry sort of rhythm, and almost funk-style vocals. There’s an urgency to the guitar that works nicely with the vocal style, and the quiet, moody moment in the middle is a nice touch. I like the distorted vocals and digitized beats on “Digital Empire,” but the chugga-chugga guitars get a little old, and the vocals that try to be all moody and digital sound trite. Now “Echo” is done right, slower but still possessing some distorted guitars and angry rhythms, while the vocals are mixed overlapping and not overpowering the music itself. And I like the bass-heavy somber heaviness to “Time Machine,” but again the vocals, trying to be a middle-of-the-road rock band style don’t do anything to drive this song. The chorus, however, is damn catchy! “Deaths the Rage” again uses that funky style of guitar, and I don’t think this works near as well as his more powerful, angry songs. “Tortured Solitaire” is an example of where he does it right: a slower, moodier song, with thick guitar, vocals worked right into the mix at times and in-your-face but distorted at others, and some nice rhythms. “Power Personality” is more fast-paced, with Stabbing Westward style guitars but some weird vocals that are trying to be all deep and full of attitude. “Fucked Up Trance” is definitely not trance, instead a more poppy and slower rock song that actually works quite a bit, I think because the vocals aren’t made the focus. And the closer, “Talking is King,” is just strange, with blazing, angry guitars, almost a rapped vocal style, and pretty humorous lyrics about talk shows.

The CD-ROM portion of the disc is done well and actually adds to the content, which is what it’s supposed to do, and Whitesides’ more acoustic unreleased track available there is actually really good.

Two complaints about this album. The production is way over done. Whitesides would be better served by letting his power guitar riffs and digitized beats take the lead rather than his vocals, which are suitable but nothing special and tend to be mixed way too far forward. Also, Whitesides appears to be approaching a lot of musical boundaries here but not pushing them. Instead of using the digital means at his hands to really do something wild and startling, his songs end up receding back into a comfortable rock sound. Both of these things lead me to believe that Whitesides’ next album will a marvel, while this one seems to be merely a first step.

But these songs aren’t bad. I really appreciate the powerful guitar energy and industrial angry rhythms that lay under a more rock-n-roll based loyalty. Still, this mix of digital and synthetic rock has been done before, with Garbage being the most notable band. And while Whitesides doesn’t really sound like Garbage, his music flirts with their rock style. Push the boundaries, use more digitization, and don’t be afraid to not sound like you’re rocking out. Those are my suggestions.