Friday, November 14, 2008

Coward - s/t (Elektra, 1997)

"It is hard to think that lyrics make much of a difference in music as sugary as Coward's guitar pop, but the group ironically prove the value (and dangers) of pop lyrics. Comparing Coward's imagery on the straight for the heart ballad "Wish" to that of, say, the Cars or Weezer is an illuminating affair. The hook starts off "I wish I could spend the day at home reading." That might be more poetic than Say It Ain't So" or "You're All I've Got Tonight" (or it might not), but that isn't the issue. This failed line and many others like it are too opaque for a band and a record as unabashedly committed to the sugary surface of pop/rock. Vocalist Sheppard, guitarist Joey Sykes, drummer Billy Alemaghides, and bassist Pete Savad each deserve high marks for their tight performances and strong musical material, but a certain incongruity twists the group's songs in one too many directions." (

Coward supported the release of their Jerry Finn-produced debut in 1997 with a three month tour with Third Eye Blind and an appearance on the MTV show "Oddville".  This would be Coward's only release, however, as they disbanded soon after. Guitarist Joey Sykes went on to perform as part of the backing band for Meredith Brooks, while singer Sheppard became a pop writer/producer for acts like LFO and Mandy Moore and currently does A&R for Universal Records. Sykes later formed a new band, New English with former Capitol records artist Tommy Henriksen. 


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jon sutton said...

Yup, another of my absolute favorites of the era. You have it nailed. As more torment to me... this was another one-and-done artist.