|There's an interesting line from the Bliss bio that was
enclosed with the CD sent to me for review:
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
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 www.J-Birdrecord.com e-mail Bliss at Blissthis@aol.com