Time can heal all wounds. For example, five years ago had I heard the saxophone solo in the middle of Poison Control Center’s “Being Gone,” I would have exclaimed, “Who the f*ck put that saxophone in my rock song!” Now, comfortably removed from the saxophone solo’s hey day in the ’80s I can take a much wider and much more reasonable perspective. And here, for the Posion Control Center, the sax solo actually works because they’re not trying to be Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band or Bob Seger or Bruce Willis, and “Being Gone” would have been a perfectly fine half-jagged, half-jangly indie rock song without the sax. Moreso, they don’t use the sax as an opportunity to show off their best friends jazz skills, but instead, use it as a replacement for where a guitar solo would have been. Well played, rockers.
Take the vocals away from Woven Bones’ “Guess You Already Know,” and you’d have something akin to a surf rock party. With vocals which sound like they came from an undead surf rock party, you get something altogether different — a song with a unique balance of good times and bad times, one half girls in bikinis shakin’ their hips and the other half, undead denizens eager to take a bite out of those tasty hips.
Male Bonding’s “Year’s Not Long,” is another tune which sports an interesting dynamic. When you isolate the rhythm section, you’ll notice them banging out an old-school Ramones jam like “Beat on the Brat.” The vocals, meanwhile, sound much more Stone Roses than Ramones, as they float above the ruckus below in a more measured tempo. Now, add in guitars which would make many a noisemaker proud, and you have a song which should work about as well as an old used Yugo. The key word, of course, being should.