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There's an interesting line from the Bliss bio that was enclosed with the CD sent to me for review:

"...vocalist Matt Wells (of Bliss)... joined the last incarnation of Bad Habit -- a pure power pop outfit with heavy arena rock overtones. Then came Nirvana and the band disintegrated."

I'm sure Bad Habit wasn't the only one. Arena rock died around the late '80s, early '90s just like the bio said, with the onslaught of Grunge and alt rock. Is it coming back? I don't know. Judging from what's being played on the radio these days, it might, but it's doubtful, as urban music, re-glam and fucking swing music continues to dominate the airwaves and MTV. What's this have to do with Bliss' "Chasing the Mad Rabbit" (J-Bird Records)? Not much, other than the fact that it's an obvious gamble that heavy metal arena rock will return, or merely an homage to that style of music.

Bliss lists their influences as Sabbath, NIN, Zeppelin, the Beatles, Yes, CSN, etc. What do they actually sound like?  Styx, Boston, Kansas, at times Whitesnake. But the band most closely resembles a heavy (not bluesy) version of Journey. My guess is that these guys (the other half of Bliss is Michael Trapp on "all instruments," which makes one wonder how they perform live...) have had stints in a number of rock cover bar bands. They know how to play their instruments, and the vocals are straight out of pre-grunge 1980s. That's either a good or bad thing, depending on what you listen to (if you spent more than 10 seconds looking through this website, you know what style of music I listen to, and it isn't this, not anymore, anyway).

Bliss is about as close as you're gonna get to that '80s arena rock thing. People who  listen to classic rock radio stations might dig it ... but here's the rub: People who listen to classic rock stations, at least ones that I know, generally hate any music they haven't heard played to death on the radio. For example, you could play a song by a band like Bliss for them and, since they've never heard the music before, they'd either hate it or not really pay any attention to it. But if they heard the same song played on the radio a few dozen times, suddenly they'd have to go out and buy the CD. It's a real Catch 22 -- you can't get on classic radio until you've become classic, meanwhile, the people who listen to classic radio are the ones you need to reach. How do you do it? That's something Bliss is gonna have to figure out. Unlike indie or alt music, the answer isn't "relentless touring" because the crowd who listens to classic rock doesn't go to shows, except for classic rock band reunions. I don't envy their dilemma, but on the other hand, I'm not entirely sure Bliss gives a shit. This is their music. This is what they've probably played all their lives. They're gonna keep playing it and maybe -- just maybe -- the trend toward arena rock will return.

You can find out more about Bliss at the J-Bird Records website at e-mail Bliss at