Jesus, this is really bad

The Nixons go national with the dread-inspiring Foma

But in the title song, they question even those who would believe: "Jesus Christ--is He someone you put faith in? Is He someone to wear your crown of thorns, bear your wrongs? Is He just another God?" Its tone is sneering, condescending. Where Joan Osborne asks to seek answers, the Nixons ask only to threaten: this is my God, and you are not worthy. Their messages are so mixed that finally they mean nothing.

But the Nixons fail not just on intention, but on execution: Foma is as bombastic, as two-dimensional, as cliched, and as derivative as any pop-metal album of the past 20 years. To listen to this record is to hear music that embodies much of what's wrong with so-called modern-rock radio, which has slowly but surely begun embracing the very sort of arena-rock histrionics that "alternative rock" was supposed to stand against. To listen to Foma is not to be reminded so much of Pearl Jam--though it took four months before I found out "Sister" was not a Pearl Jam song--but a band like Live, which has so little to say it must scream to get its point across, belching hysterical and grandiose Statements upon a foundation of '70s AOR no different than Kansas or Journey.

For their major-label debut, the Nixons have evolved into a metal-lite band (no doubt thanks to producer Mark Dodson, who has worked with Suicidal Tendencies and Judas Priest)--the edges of Halo sharpened, the guitars louder, the vocals more shrieking, the performances more overwrought. Which isn't as frightening as this small fact: the band has six records left on their MCA contract. Perhaps what they're really saying on Foma is there isn't a God at all.

Scene, heard
Out of nowhere, Deep Blue Something--with the singles "Halo" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in heavy rotation on Q102 and the Edge--is the next local band likely to leap to a major label, proof again that most major-label A&R folks lost their hearing a long time ago. So far, Atlantic, Giant, Mercury, MCA, and Interscope have sent reps down to check out the pop band; and as of April 20, Crystal Clear Sound, the band's distributor, had moved 6,000 copies of the band's 1993 CD Home on Rainmaker Records (past home to the Nixons, of course). Sherri Gesin, director of distribution at CCS, says that number is closer to 7,000 copies now. "It's moving like we've never seen." Gesin says, "It's like the Nixons all over again." You have been warned...

The Dave Zoller Sextet will perform at Sambuca in Deep Ellum on May 19, coinciding with the release of Zoller's new CD, Snug Harbor...

Techno-folkie David Wayne has been hired to find 15 local bands to contribute songs to the sound track of Post-Education, a low-budget independent film about a gay-straight love triangle to be shot in Dallas during July and August. Wayne is accepting tapes from local bands until June 1, and they can be sent to him at 1407 Jennifer Street, Richardson, TX, 75082.

Street Beat welcomes E-mail tips and comments at DalObserv@aol.com.

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