Out Here

Space Cadet
Space Cadet
(Ffroe Records)

Every band has to learn to play through its influences at some point, whether that means figuring out how to play the same old song better than anyone else, or actually coming up with something new -- you know, the more difficult and far less traveled path. Everyone needs a little bit of time to find his own voice, so it's not a crime to sound like your record collection while organizing a search party. Unfortunately, too many groups aren't willing to try to move past influence into inspiration, content with doing just enough to get by. Not that listeners encourage bands to come up with original sounds. Stone Temple Pilots pillaged Pearl Jam's sound, and Creed did the same thing to STP, resulting in hazy and hackneyed versions of songs that were basically Kansas rip-offs in the first place. And all three bands sold millions of records, no one noticing, apparently, they were buying the same album over and over again. Familiarity breeds contempt, except in the music business.

Space Cadet appears to have already figured that out. It's not clear right away what Space Cadet's goal is with its debut CD, but it doesn't take too long to suss it out. Maybe one spin all the way around, and you'll get the picture, though it's not a very pretty one. The band wants to be everything to everyone, or at least to the people who listen to The Edge on a regular basis. Space Cadet is perfectly willing to throw every style and sound at the wall and wait for someone else to tell them what to stick with. Well, not every style and sound, just the small range offered by most modern-rock radio programming directors. It's everything and nothing, and then some. Were it a better list of thefts, you might call Space Cadet eclectic, but as it stands, even derivative fails to do the disc justice, falling far short of capturing just how insidious this record is.

Each song on Space Cadet has a doppelgänger you've heard before, probably a few too many times. The leadoff track, "Ray Gun," swipes Scott Weiland's early date-rape lyrics and messily applies them to the strain of power-pop found on the undercard at the last few EDGE Fests. "Air Your Soul Out" confuses heavily distorted vocals with invention, which only marginally distinguishes the song from the one that precedes it, "Outer Space." Both tracks are the kind of syncopated and sludgy fake metal that could pass for a Creed outtake. Or Korn, Alice in Chains, Limp Bizkit, or just about any band that, despite any quantifiable evidence of talent, can comfortably list themselves as rock stars. With its new old sound, maybe Space Cadet will be able to do the same one day -- God help us. At least it will be interesting to hear what the band decides to imitate next. Nah, not really.

Zac Crain


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