STAIND Break The Cycle (Flip/Elektra)
Apparently 'discovered' by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, a fact that will mean absolutely zip if you're over sixteen and have so far managed to filter out all this nu-metal hysteria, this, Staind's third album, sold nearly 750,000 copies in their native USA in its week of release, and was certified triple platinum less than three months later. The last NME album chart posted it at number three, suggesting its apparently massive appeal has gone transatlantic, the kind of success that's impossible to argue with.
But what are these people buying into? To my jaded ears "Break The Cycle" sounds rather like Pearl Jam's "Ten" might have done had that band been eternally abandoned in an arid desert thousands of miles away from the nearest memorable tune. Everything else is present and correct: overbearing, angst-riddled lyrics about drugs, death, abuse, depression, take your pick; lumpen, guitar saturated music that can't quite bring itself to accept the obvious and call itself heavy metal; heck, even Aaron Lewis' strained singing sounds like Eddie Vedder with a cold. So "Break The Cycle" certainly isn't a new frontier in popular music. But, I'm almost embarrassed to admit, certain songs have hooked in my cerebrum: "It's Been Awhile", sagely chosen as the first British single release, sails closest to the concept of melody, and "Outside" has a sort of doomy, bluff all-rightness to it. There's a live acoustic version tagged on to the end of the album as well, taped on the Family Values Tour with assistance from Mr Durst, which is possibly better still, this apparently being the recording that brought Staind their current mass recognition. But really, "Break The Cycle" sounds like music to grow out of: even if you adore it as a misunderstood teenager you'll probably be hiding it from your kids a generation hence.STAIND It's Been Awhile (Flip/Elektra)
More granite-chiselled angst from the currently favoured voice of American teen discontent, "It's Been Awhile" appears on this single in an almost hilarious "Clean Edit", wherein the vocal track suddenly quietens in the vicinity of obscenity, the full-throttle parental advisory album version, and in enhanced video form, if that interests you. There's also a track, "Suffocate", from their previous album "Dysfunction", which manages to be even more forgettable and cliched than anything contained on their multi-platinum latest opus. If you're still mourning Kurt or are waiting for your trenchcoat to get back from the drycleaners "It's Been Awhile" might be your bag; if not chances are you've probably grown up and out of this kind of ponderous sub-metal dirge.
STAIND For You (Flip/Elektra)
"For You" is the third single to be extracted from Staind's triple-platinum album "Break The Cycle", which suggests that somebody somewhere must like them. Do you know this person? Perhaps you could suggest that they lend an ear to Joy Division's "Closer", Neil Young's "Tonight's The Night", or, why not, even Nick Drake's "Pink Moon", to select a few fine examples of end-of-tether desolation in modern music. That might be an adventure for them, and certainly preferable to another serving of this turgid angst-on-a-plate for the Teletubbies generation.