1. Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“Hailing from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, The Screen blends guitar-driven hard rock with melodic art rock. Having captured the attention of the Seacoast area and beyond with their critically acclaimed debut album in 2003, The Screen went on to grab awards for Best Rock/Pop band 2003 (Jam Magazine) and Honorable Mention-Best Albums of 2003 (Portland Phoenix). Known for their solid live shows, The Screen spent the next 2 years developing new material on stage, which would become their sophomore album, Antitrust. Released in Spring 2005, Antitrust was a giant leap forward and was called "the best hard rock I have heard from this area. Ever."(Spotlight Magazine) Regrouping as a trio in 2007, The Screen is releasing their new album Superliminal in June 2009” (My Space, The Screen, 2009).
2. Why did they make this album? What was the passion or message that forced them to produce what they have? Or, simply what was their motivation for the themes they chose for this album?
3. What message are they delivering through their lyrics and music?
001 - Cool strings and synths open this up before the drum and guitar blast through. Vocals are not bad at all and the rhythm is good, “it is what it is, so I’ve been told by you.” Original and a good starter to open a show. The write up on their website lauds their live performance and this one would open a show well. Great guitar solo in the middle extending to the end, with drums and synths supporting.
Stand Up Guy - Lone guitar hitting a rhythm before drums kick in. “I love you enough not to hate you. I know you enough, not to love you. You traded your faith for a head full of screws.” A modern day pop song. Again, this would sound good live. Danceable number. Kind of a Smithereens guitar riff towards the end.
Come Together - Stepping out on a limb with one of those classic Beatles songs that either make or break your career. If you make a mistake here it may cost you dearly. Well, the good news is they pull it off. The wood stadium stair stomp sound effect in the background adds to the power of one of the world’s most powerful songs. The guitar riffs and solos add dimension and originality to one of the most played songs on the planet. It always has been one of the coolest songs, but their version adds new elements and brings the song up to date. The guitar solo in the middle lacked power and sounds hollow in places but the rest of the song sounds good. The eerie sounds of guitar towards the end are cool.
Count the Ways - Not done with the Beatles yet, they open this song with a Helter Skelter like guitar effect. Then an almost Rush rhythm before the pop vocals take over. “We opened a can of snakes.” “Believe me now; I’ve got something to say.” Very Rush sounding track musically but with a more pop feel to the melody and vocals. Rappin’ in the middle keeps them current with the wave here in the States.
Vonnegut - A reading from Kurt Vonnegut, with support of strings, guitar and drums. Read about Vonnegut and you will be able to understand the story and reasoning for the song. As the song/poetry reading continues, the reading is almost inaudible. The guitar riffs and solos take over supported by keys.
Switch - Slow guitar opens this one before vocals, guitar and drums take over. Original sounding vocals and the grinding guitars take over.
Interlude - A short bass guitar picking along with synths interlude.
This Way to the Egress - Pounding drums and grinding guitars. “We were meant to push each other down.” Probably a real fan favorite at live shows. Almost rappin’ sound to the vocals delivered through a hand held loudspeaker. “Show your teeth and retreat.” “Such a perfect ending.” Not yet, one more song to go. Drums and heavy guitar get this one going towards the end.
Faith Beyond Reason - Sound effects abound at the beginning of this one. Then synths, bass and drums. After the heavy sound of the last one this is more of a Faith No More kind of song. Much more pop sounding. Parts of the song sound like early Dream Theater as well. Nice instrumental interlude in the middle. The longest song on the album.
4. Does this music improve, change, or add to the genre? What does the listener receive from listening to the music?
Not really. It is original, but not strong enough to make a statement and separate the band from the flocks of new bands out their competing for labels. It’s good, but average. Nothing really stands out except the Beatles cover, which is great. However, it is probably one of the most covered Beatles songs in the galaxy so it doesn’t distinguish the band enough.
5. Does it have longevity? Is it something a fan will like to play again and again?
Who can tell? I am sure they have a devoted following who love to see them live. They need something to set them apart from the crowd. This album doesn’t do it. Maybe the next will. Rating: 4/10.
Reviewed by Prof on August 12th, 2009