Beyond The Now: You Asked For It

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Beyond The Now
Subject to Change
(Self-released)

Grade: C

It's hard to believe, but tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of Woodstock 1999. Though organizers have done everything they can to protect the Woodstock brand since, distancing themselves from the fiery debacle in Rome, New York, if you ask me the event was a smashing success, as it really did accomplish the ambitious goal of defining a generation. Like it's two predecessors -- the hippie fest of '69 and the grunge showcase of '94 -- the '99 installment captured the zeitgeist of American pop music, as ugly as that zeitgeist was.

For better or worse, there's about five years of popular music that can best be summed up by Limp Bizkit's performance at Woodstock 99 (the event ran July 23-25, 1999) when the righteous white suburban rage of "Break Stuff" led to, ahem, the breaking of stuff, the setting of fires and, reportedly, sexual assaults. If you ask me, observers at the time were right to wring their hands and condemn a generation of kids who gathered to see shitty bands like Godsmack, Buckcherry, and Korn.

Here's the truly tragic epilogue: 10 years later, in Phoenix, Arizona, there are bands who seem to be striving to re-create the sound bands like Oleander perfected a decade ago. Beyond The Now is such a band. They're pretty good at it, too.

Starting off with a few cheesy electronic blips before a crush of guitars sets the tone, "Giving In" has the sort of standard low-slug post-grunge verse-chorus-verse structure that'd have Kurt Cobain rolling over in his grave (if he had a grave). The electronic frills and a single Linkin Park-style melodic howl about 2:45 in are the only things that suggest the song isn't at least 10 years old.

"Alone," the second song, starts off with a fantastic guitar riff that sounds a lot like something James Iha would have played in his prime but, unfortunately things slip downhill fast. Not so downhill that I couldn't imagine The Edge playing the song though -- especially since they're no longer interested in pushing such "edgy" "new" bands as Kings of Leon and The Killers. It's a catchy song -- at least as good as anything Staind (which it really reminds me of) has done since Break The Cycle.

"Cypress" continues the impressive guitar work -- the two guitarists, both named David, are the real strength of this band -- pairing a crunchy head-banger of a riff with some top-fret meandering that generates a nice effect.

All in all, Subject To Change is a polished effort that shows Beyond The Now is very good at what they do. What they do, however, really shouldn't be done anymore.

If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to submit a CD for review, please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:

Martin Cizmar
You Asked For It
c/o Phoenix New Times
1201 E. Jefferson Street
Phoenix , AZ 85032

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