Since my colleague Björn reviewed the previous grunge album, now it's my turn for a throwback into the gritty nineties. Dry Can is a French quartet that started out as a two-piece acoustic band. 'Meanwhile' is their second album, following the debut, named 'Something Like That'. Dry Can has been working on this CD for several years, drawing influences from a wide variety of rock styles. The result, 'Meanwhile', is a very effective return to the golden decade of lumberjack shirts, sunlit open air festivals and parties with the slogan 'no house, no bullshit'.
It's all in there. The clean/distorted switch pedals of Nirvana, the screaching vocals of Hole, the introvert singing of Sonic Youth, the outstanding drumming of Pearl Jam... But it doesn't stop there, no good sir. There's the absolute weirdness of System Of A Down and the lingering tempos of Deftones. Speaking of 'linger', yes, the Cranberries are just around the corner sometimes. These are all very interesting comparisons and the music on 'Meanwhile' nails the overal feel of the grunge decade, but somewhere there's this strange sensation that it might be a bit too late for this style of music. The songs are excellent and there's a lot of variation because of the use of both male and female vocals in a wide array, from soft and subdued to powerful yelling.
The music on this album is above all written for the stage. A track like the powerful 'Dry Eyes' can easily entertain a live audience. From that point on, the album actually starts growing and quickly settles in. Every song brings up the memories, even the dub-style bassline in 'Nothing Came', which I think is one of the best songs on this album. Dry Can proves that they're experienced musicians with this versatile grunge album. The guitar solo's are exquisite, they truly pay hommage to this instrument. Once in a while the bands seems to borrow from post rock as well, giving songs like 'Aside' and 'Wasted' something extra.
Almost every song on 'Meanwhile' reminds me of another band or song and I'm still wondering whether that's a good or a bad thing. They all seem to come back in this album, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden but even way back to Led Zeppelin and such. If you're a nostalgic person, longing for those good old days at your local rock festival, this is definately something for you. If you remember the warm beer, the greasy hamburgers, the mud-soaked terrains and making love in a small tent sorrounded by thousands of others making love in their tents, then by all means, get your hands on this CD. However, if you feel like you've moved on from these glorious times, you can easily leave this band for what it is. But should there ever be a grunge-revival, Dry Can could easily be in the foreground, headlining festivals and you could have missed that. Wouldn't that be a shame...