Nine months ago I took a scroll through my music library to select records to write about throughout 2018. Later, when I sorted my choices by release date, some interesting pairings caught my eye. Let’s talk about some late-90s post-grunge angry gloomy whiny alternative stuff, shall we?
Yeah, apparently I was into that for a little while.
Yeah, okay, I remain a fan of it just enough that it’s still in my library and gets a listen every so often.
What is it?
The Devil You Know is the 1997 sophomore release from the Canadian “alternative” band, Econoline Crush. Yeah, “alternative” as a label remains just about the stupidest thing ever applied to a timeline or sound of pop music.
How does it sound?
Sampled the truth, and repackaged the mix…
Why this pick?
I got into this band thanks to a music video. Well: A fan-made music video using visuals from my favorite Miyazaki film, let’s be clear about that. The song from that video is on this album, and it’s a big part of why this is my favorite of the three Econoline Crush albums in my library.
Look, they can’t all have big important reasons to have made the list. Sometimes you just gotta enjoy what it is for what it is.
Which songs are the highlights?
“Surefire” is still one of my favorites, though the album version differs from the mix used in that video. It’s great in any rendition, honestly.
There are a bunch of barn-burners on this record, “Home” definitely the foremost among them. You get good value for money from some of the others, like “Sparkle and Shine” and “Hollowman” and “Elegant” and especially “Burnt.”
Oh hey, the title track isn’t too shabby either.
Honestly, I like nearly the entire album. This one’s another in the “if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like” category. Let’s hear it for consistent quality.
Which songs don’t work so well?
The mix of “All That You Are” on this album just isn’t that good. There’s a far better rendition elsewhere. Maybe if you’ve never heard the other mix you’ll be fine with this one? I dunno. I really think this one doesn’t gel quite right.
Unfortunately, the semi-obligatory album-closing sad ballad of sadness, “Razorblades and Bandaides,” lands with a dull thud.
Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?
There wasn’t a contest, here. It was always going to be The Devil You Know. The band’s sound and style don’t change much so if you like this one, you can’t really go too far astray picking up the first album, Affliction, or the 2001 release, Brand New History.
Any final thoughts?
One can look at a band like this as the sort of thing one tends to outgrow over time. How much loud angst-and-woe does one need in their music library, after all? And yet, there are some good and fun tunes in this genre. I can enjoy the sound while generally ignoring the message. (Easier for me than for most folks given my difficulties with lyrics in general, admittedly.)
There’s a “hidden” track on this record, buried a dozen tracks after the last song. I only mention it because it’s properly on a separate track instead of being part of the last track on the CD… I’m looking at you, Filter. Ahem.
Next week: More zombies post-grunge “alternative”!