The great thing about jam bands is that you don’t have to listen to them. What I mean is, you don’t have to listen to them. I’m sure you’re familiar with the experience: you’re out shopping or having dinner with the usual pap on the loudspeakers, when a truly arresting song (it could be anything from “Like a Rolling Stone” to “Let’s Get It On” to “Don’t You Want Me” to “Baby Got Back”) comes on, and conversation stops as everyone’s attention is focused on the music. Now that’s fine if you’re in the mood, but sometimes you just want something to put on in the background, and that’s where jam bands excel.
Hell, they practically defy you to pay attention all the way through. A fine example from Eau Claire’s One Fluid Ounce is their treatment of John Lennon’s “I Want You” (called “She’s So Heavy” here): the original Beatles recording is riveting, with a growling vocal, a dramatic stop-and-start melody, sudden twists in the tempo, and that final endless, ever-growing guitar line. One Fluid Ounce recreates most of the original arrangement (kudos to the bass player), and then stick in the middle: a funk jam! Just what you need to take your mind off the desperate emotion of the song.
One Fluid Ounce provides plenty of soothing background music, with a sumptuous blend of acoustic and electric guitars, gently swinging rhythms, nondescript melodies, and endless solos (a mere nine songs fill this 68-minute disc). A couple tunes stick out with moderately catchy hooks (“One Blue Eye One Green”, “Beer Bongs, Baseballs, Beer Can Helmets”), and “Sissy Strut” is a thrill for me, but that’s just ‘cause I’m a sucker for the Hammond organ. The rest blend in nicely to the ambient sounds of your life. A perfect soundtrack for a hip dentist’s office.
If you’ve worn the grooves down on your old Phish and Widespread Panic records, be sure to check out One Fluid Ounce at their web site.
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