Dormant for almost a decade, The New Odds re-emerged this summer like a phoenix from the ashes of a forest fire in the Canadian Rockies. With a new album and a spot on tour with the Barenaked Ladies, The New Odds may seem like a completely unnecessary throwback to the ‘90s, and that’s exactly what they are. Their new album, Cheerleader, sounds like Squeeze and Tom Petty taking a bath, but it’s cleaner and more melodic than any power-pop band of recent memory, and, unfortunately, it’s also much more boring.
What’s surprising about Cheerleader is that it doesn’t sound like the work of four veteran musicians. This is more of a bad thing than a good thing; although it has the youthful exuberance of a garage band, it also has the awkward and boring songwriting and the insecurity of musicians who are not comfortable with each other. Simply put, it feels much more like a half-hearted reunion record than it should. The instrumentation sounds sparse, and the songs don’t sound properly filled out. The album is the musical equivalent of a rusting scaffold.
The album isn’t a complete failure by any means. The members of The New Odds channel early Weezer records on many of these songs, and they’ve preserved the lighthearted optimism of the Clinton years accurately. But this record definitely could have used a few more years in the oven, because as it is now, it sounds too much like a demo. If anything, it’s a lesson in preparation for future reunion records.
In A Word: Hammock