Houston Music

Blue Earth

On its sophomore effort, this quintet from College Station packs more hooks than a trout fisherman on vacation, offering cut after meaty cut from the alt-rock school of music in which the upperclassmen obviously study all the position papers of Bush and Creed. Blue Earth, like its namesake planet, is in constant motion, flitting between styles and beats, an adventurousness often lost on many acts, which strive to make their songs sound as similar as possible.

There's the slinky ska groove of "Superfluous," the hard bounce bop of "Brainless" and the nonstop rawk of "Cellophane" (also the title of the band's first record). Guitarist Dave Duce and drummer Jeff Petereit provide the foundation, with solid support from Chuck Conser on keys and Rob Marr on bass. Singer Peyton Lowery, whose deep, hefty notes mostly hit the mark, is sometimes hampered by a plain lack of emotive range.

When the subject is ladies, the band concocts a highly combustible mixture of political correctness, humor and misogyny. The rock-rap "Give It Up" has an irresistibly catchy sound and chorus, but you'll nonetheless feel guilty about chanting the aggressively Bizkit-like chorus, "If you weren't such a bitch / Then you would give it up." And on the country-inspired "Pantelones," Blue Earth -- with tongue planted firmly in cheek (or somewhere) -- makes getting into somebody's pants seem like an act of nobility. However, the more surreal, psychedelia-tinged numbers (the title track and "Rerun Atom") somehow slow down the proceedings, proving that sometimes tackling too much also can work against you.

Behind the Sun is a CD that demands -- then rewards -- repeated listens. The band's on-the-money commercial sound (and selling out's not necessarily a bad vibe) could easily stand alongside more famous acts in the Buzz Nation -- and even eclipse a few.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero