Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fretblanket - Home Truths from Abroad (Polygram, 1998)

"Inspired by bands like Ride, the Wedding Present, and Swervedriver, Fretblanket hails from the small midland U.K. town of Stourbridge. The four members -- Matt Carey (drums), Will Copley (vocals/guitar), Clive Powell (guitar/vocals), and Dave Allsopp (bass) -- met as schoolboys around 1987. After signing to the American-based Polygram Records in 1993, Fretblanket debuted with Junkfuel one year later. Home Truths From Abroad followed in 1997. Although their sophomore effort had more polish, both albums fall into a predictable style of post-grunge: raw but melodic. Comparisons immediately call bands like Bush to mind. MTV's short-lived 12 Angry Viewers awarded high ratings to "Into the Ocean," the first single from Home Truths. But the video fell out of heavy rotation and Fretblanket, further troubled by label issues, quietly slipped back to Stourbridge." (

"Apparently, the home truth from abroad that Stourbridge, England's Fretblanket exemplifies is that you too could start a band, get signed to a well- meaning but clueless major label and disappear forever into the modern rock radio netherworld. Bush and Blur got big by playing the same loud Americanized rock as Fretblanket did on their 1994 debut Junkfuel, so why didn't they become as successful? It may be that the only thing they have going for them is their reasonably telegenic frontman, Will Coyle, whose gravelly, urgent rasp beats Gavin Rossdale's angsty- pants keening any day. Fretblanket's sound is like Oasis minus the arrogant posing and Beatles references plus a little more energy-- which is to say, the same kind of bland stripped- down alt-rock that's all the rage in the '90s." (

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