Privet Earth – Breaking the Ice
Being from Russia, this is one edgy rock band with a lot of interesting qualities. Going International was always leader Ivan Smirnov’s dream. This dream drove him to pursue his career nowhere else but the entertainment capital of the world. A few years ago, after traveling many miles and facing many obstacles, Ivan finally made it to Los Angeles! “The Struggle was unbelievable” remembers Ivan, “I used to live on $5 a week at times. One day I even found myself homeless sitting on in front of McDonalds with the only thing I owned – my guitar.” But he didn’t give up. His explosive performances, unique vocal style and enormous talent quickly gained this Russian wonder respect among everyone who heard his music. It all comes to life on “Breaking The Ice” which finds him and band mates where they belong.
Iced Orkestra opens the CD with a cut that is an intro concluded later on the disc, and essentially makes way for the much more accessible Forest Queen. This is one of the three or four best, but that can’t be immediately evaluated, it’s more of an overall consensus. It has the most fortified swagger to be found on offer, and has to be the overall most satisfying point on the album. The vocals seem to go where no man has gone before in the chorus, bringing out the most original number. I have to say I’m also very reminded of the vocals of Smashmouth, thus far. This continues into the next track Big City, which is a very fun number, but even more Smashmouth going on here, to the point of near copycat factors, rather than the usual compliment. But I still love how they play with it, and this band is certainly as good as they are, so it’s no disgrace, just a clear observation. Even though there are a lot of influences felt here, this is the band they sound more like than any other, because of the two previous tracks. Now we’re into a really cool vibe that highly differs from the others so far, except to say that the chorus still maintains the aforementioned Smashmouth ring. Image that band throwing caution to the wind and doing something risky, and so far that’s what you have here. Slinky bits and pieces with a bouncy chorus with hard edged interludes to round it out, are what carry this album. It’s hard not to like these tunes, but also hard not to liken them to other bands of mixed genres. You swear you’ve heard Kool Col Boy before, because these guys are of the ilk in which it came. This is an excellent mix of the harder and softer edges to this band. I find it to be one killer song. Then we get the appeal of Dive, and it ups the vibes all the more. This might not be the best tune on offer, but it’s catchy as all get out. By this time you already want to hit replay and start the record again, it’s that contagious. It’s hard to believe so much can be covered and yet still not a lot impress in the area of musicality itself. This is where it risks all accessibility by lacking in one area or another, letting the vocals have most of the responsibility, vocals that aren’t all that up front to begin with, and it’s amazing how it all comes out in the wash, with the best instrumentation being some occasional flashy acoustic guitar flashes. Give It To The Wind is most indicative of this, while still somehow being one of the more accessible tracks. Blue Bottle sits somewhere in the middle, and although not the best thing here, at least it hints at some guitar angst for once, but the vocals tend to lose me, and once again ring a little too much of Smashmouth. I see a lot of influences being credited, but not that one, and not Jane’s Addiction either, when clearly this release is full of things they picked up from them, mostly in the vocal department. The best piece of music to be found here weighs in-between Give It To The Wind and this excellent track Bull S, and from there out it’s more of the same. From Forest Queen to Feeling, this is a powerful alternative rock release with a very poppy edge to it. The music isn’t as all over the map as the vocals, but they contrast one another so perfectly you don’t notice hardly a bump in the road, other than to say there is some rather uniquely odd vocal mannerisms on “Breaking The Ice.”