And Then There Were None – Who Speaks For Planet Earth?
Release Date: February 24, 2009
Record Label: Tooth and Nail
Let’s be honest, the majority of scene bands trying to play “dance” music suck. And no matter what kind of variation is added – pop-rock or (shudder) screaming – the music comes across as half-assed, as the band cares more about their image and moves onstage. The dance/electronic genre can be fun when done decently though, and the New Hampshire quintet, And Then There Were None, takes their best shot at accomplishing this feat. At least they are one of the few bands in this specific genre that don’t make me wish that Peter the Apostle would chop my ears off.
And Then There Were None’s debut album, Who Speaks For Planet Earth? is deliciously produced. The synths, electronic drums, and subtle guitars sound crisp and are nicely layered. Vocalist Matt Rhoades sounds pretty good too (like a poor man’s Stephen Christian). “John Orr The Arsonist” is very energetic and synth-heavy. Before taking on their Euro-dance sound, And Then There Were None was a metal band (you could accuse them of jumping onto the hottest trend, but Rhoades contends it was because he ran out of ideas for metal), and it’s evident they incorporate that "metal" energy and speed into a lot of their songs. “The Hospital” has some good pep to it as well, and Rhoades' vocals really own the song.
The best track comes in the form of “Reinventing Robert Cohn.” Paced by bursting drum blasts and piercing keys, the song is a complete frenzy of everything you might love that is electronic. After the first three tracks, your pulse is going nuts and you’re amped all the way to 10, hoping that the next few tracks will jack it up to 11. Sadly, it doesn’t. In fact, Who Speaks For Planet Earth? turns the dial down to about 6.
“Action Is The Anecdote” sounds hollow, while “The Atmosphere” sounds horribly forced. The middle of Who Speaks is terribly bland, as the pacing of each track starts to blend with each other, and the continuous “oomp, oomp, oomp” beat starts to really annoy you. The album switches up with the band’s cover of Richard Marx’s 1989 hit ballad, “Right Here Waiting.” Not only is this cover really poor, but also it’s placed in an absurd spot of the album, as the lightheartedness of the song takes away from the more serious tone of the album. Sure, the cover breaks up the monotony of the middle tracks, but it also ruins the flow.
Fortunately, some of the final songs redeem the album a little bit. “Thank The Watchmaker” has a nice blend of keys and drums, while the guitars play a prominent role. And, of course, the catchy chorus doesn’t hurt either. And closer “Insozzz…” retires the album with striking results, as the fusion of synths, subtle guitar tones, and Rhoades’ tenor create a tasty melody.
Who Speaks For Planet Earth? is a commendable first effort from And Then There Were None. While the middle portion is littered with flaws, tracks like “Reinventing Robert Cohn” and “Insozzz…” prove that the band is capable of creating good and exciting dance music. And even though it becomes difficult to differentiate some of the tracks, you’ll still be shaking your ass along to it. In the end, Who Speaks For Planet Earth? isn’t an album you’ll play regularly, but when you’re in the mood for an all-night rave, it’ll be the first thing you throw on in your stereo.
Good review. I haven't listened to this yet, but I heard "Reinventing Robert Cohn" and found it enjoyable. They aren't anything special, and Family Force 5 is still a better "fun" band, but at least they are listenable, which is more than can be said about brokeNCYDE, the Millionaires, and so on.