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Wellwater Conspiracy | review | rock | Lollipop

Wellwater Conspiracy

by Brian Varney

I know several people who worship these guys in more or less the same way I do Soundtrack of Our Lives, claiming that the band is making music "for the ages." This is the fourth Wellwater Conspiracy album and I still don't get it. In my puny mind, the only way to truly succeed at this sorta poppy psychedelic rock is to write incredible songs, which WWC do not. Maybe I'm expecting the songs to do too much work or something, but I can't think of a single song from any of their albums with a hook that reached out and grasped a body part or an item of my clothing. Considering the family tree for this band (Matt Cameron was in Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, and John McBain was more or less an equal partner on the insanely great first two Monster Magnet albums), you'd think getting good songs on tape would be a relatively simple matter, but you'd obviously think wrong. Of course, I can forgive a lack of pop hooks if a band has the necessary bit of rock 'n' roll heft to draw my attention away from the songs themselves, but the sound here, though guitar-driven, is fairly light. I'd bet the contents of my freezer that McBain's one of those fellas who thinks the Stones sucked once Brian Jones left, so I suppose this lack of rock, though disappointing, is not entirely unexpected.

Extra points off for slaughtering one of my all-time favorite songs, Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air." The stately beauty and chillingly foreboding air of the original (I'll tell ya, playing that song two days after 9/11/01 put the lyrics in an entirely new light) has been stripped away, the resulting atrocity - new-agey guitar tone and all - sounding more like something you'd more likely hear in a high-rise elevator than on an album featuring former members of Monster Magnet and Soundgarden.
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