Well I can't say that I do know of many bands that are named after a newspaper in a famous comic book series. With that, I believe Daily Planet is the first. While it might seem a little corny to name your pop rock band after a newspaper from Superman, the real mistake lies in that you inundate your audience with references to it. Whether it's naming your album Hero or singing a song (or two) about it, or wearing shirts in publicity photos sporting the big "S," room for subtlety has been left out.
A lot of artists these days don't seem to mind that their identity is obscured by constant comparisons. Right off the bat, Daily Planet borrows their name from a superhero comic. Their sound isn't all that much more original. The opening track "Flying Blind" has an instant Eli/Big Tent Revival/Third Day feel as lead singer Jesse Butterworth's vocals sound a little limited for what he's trying to do. On the second track, "More to Life," the band already begins the song with studio chatter, an odd feature to include on just the band's second song. Whether Butterworth sounds a little too much like Clay Crosse or their style is a little too familiar, you're liable to get the irking feeling you've heard this all before, even on your first listen.
"Lost and Found," the band's more melodic approach to songwriting, works best for the band. While it still features prominent electrics, the paced feel works a lot better here and is easily one of the better tracks on the album. "Tangled Web" gets off to a good start but the introduction of Butterworth's vocals just seems uncomfortable and out of place. The chorus works a little better, especially when Jesse's vocals switch to more of a shout, but something about his voice is out of place with the crunchy guitars. The pop/rock melodies of "Everything Revolves Around You" blend similar sounds of old PFR and Big Tent while "Questioning the Notion" relies heavily on acoustics and string accompaniment. The title track begins with Butterworth's awkward shout of "ROCK!" which is immediately followed by fast strings and pop/rock guitars? What follows is a series of rather cheesey lyrics set to a pop rhythm. "Five" lets the corniness continue to fly as the Third Day-flavored goofy tune unfolds. The album closes with "I Live," a soft pop rock ballad featuring Joy Williams.
Hero is a unkempt, schizophrenic debut. Some will definitely be drawn in by the positive lyrics and bouncy tunes, but let's just hope they find themselves musically by their next project.- Review date: 8/10/02, written by John DiBiase
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