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EP Review: A Thousand Cures

Ever get a sense that some bands fashion themselves around the idea they're going to be a mainstream hit sensation... but in the end their over-achiever ways fail miserably, leaving everyone wrinkling their noses as if someone had just let a stale fart slip out, their heads reeling like "What the hell just happened there?"

See what happens when you take Buck Cherry (remember how obnoxious "Cocaine" was??)... add Collective Soul vocals and cheesy Velvet Revolver guitar solos... and lyrics as pretentious and stupid as Jimmy Ray's. Feeling nauseous yet? A Thousand Cures couldn't save you.

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White Top Cadillac
Once a year I hear a song so vile it actually pains my soul. "White Top Cadillac" is 2005's unfortunate winner. The opening guitars have a Stone Temple Pilots "Big Bang Baby" feel while the vocals definitely reek of old Collective Soul, a style that passed away in 1995 - for obvious reasons. The whiny, string-bending guitars are enough to make any respectable guitarist roll their eyes.

The simplistic repetition instantly irritates me into a revolting sneer. "I want a white top, white top, white top cadillac," the singer hollers obnoxiously. It was cool when Tim Armstrong from Rancid sang about a Cadillac but in this case it's just laughable. If you were to care enough to wonder why he wants this Cadillac so bad, you'd be further repulsed to know he wants it for "all those groupie chicks..." because he "wants to be a rock God superstar". (And no, I'm not kidding!) Slowly as bands like Korn sing about how they've "got the life", I notice the notorious rapper "bling-bling" mentality seeping its ugly tentacles into the rock genre. Thanks for being a catalyst to this slimy process, A Thousand Cures! I guess I can see how they're "redefining what it means to be rock artists", as their bio professes.

Where's The Flow
"Where's The Flow" is the hideous result of an Ill Scarlett / Santana / 311 science experiment. The opening guitar riff was almost a relief from their usual assault of spunky garbage rock until you realize their vocal hooks are almost identical to that song Santana did with Rob Thomas ("Smooth"). It would be naive for me to think every band will come up with something 100% original without any portions of the song inspired by another artist. However, when it's so obvious you can pin down the exact artist and song immediately... when it's so obvious any one of your friends instantly peg the original song too... you know the song is as useful as a piece of soggy, excrement-smeared, recycled, store-brand toilet paper.

Your Mark On The World
Apparently, in case you missed it, A Thousand Cures is SO good they're worthy of emulation from wannabe bands. "You try but you're not me. You're not good enough to be," Paul cries out a pretentious attack on other bands that ATC deems "Fake!" - as his background singers chant. You know, big rockstar attitudes were never appealing even with bands like Motley Crue or Guns N Roses. But it's even more shocking and uncalled for if you're an unsigned band who should still understand the value of making friends and contacts. Perhaps ATC should stop worrying about everyone else and take a good introspective look into the surreptitiously borrowed pieces of their own style. Caution: If you listen to this song and try to comprehend it long enough, you will get a headache. And no, even Advil won't save you.

The opening guitar riff's simplistic, predictable, six-note runs bore me. The verses are actually refreshingly quiet, focusing on Paul's voice - which isn't necessarily awful, if it weren't for the asinine lyrics and overly emphatic chorus vocals. The showoff guitarist will definitely come into play later on, trying to incite the crowd with his "skills"... because even Napoleon Dynamite knows "girls like guys with skills".

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Upon further inspection, I can only dislike this band more for several reasons.

Fashion Sense
(or lack thereof)

Their website proudly declares the vocalist is in charge of fashion. The outfits that comprise their image are absolutely atrocious! Paul, you're fired! You're letting Luca walk around in tight red, velvet leopard-print pants and trying to pass Rick off as the next Mod Club superstar. Sure, washed up rockstars (aka Velvet Revolver) may get away with an image like this but as a little-known Toronto band you come across as poorly versed try-too-hards.

Band Bio
I don't care if Randy Charlton, General Manager of 279, thinks they're "the best unsigned band in Toronto" or if their own bio sums them up in one word as "brilliant". If you were to continue reading that wretched bio, you would find that it doesn't make any sense. It reads, "They create alternative rock which simultaneously yields both stylish intelligence and sheer aggression". Stylish intelligence?? Is intelligence ever unstylish? Or is it even bound to the laws of fashion? And just how do their songs encapsulate intelligence in any way, never mind "stylish" intelligence? They sounded shallow and redundant to me. I won't even get into how their music lacks "sheer aggression". Perhaps their bio writer should go listen to some Dillinger Escape Plan and then we'll talk about aggression.

My other favorite part of the bio is the one that addresses their "infectious riffs, rock solid rhythm and astonishing vocals" - a classically nondescript paragraph that could fit pretty much any band. I suppose if taken literally, I would have to agree with the "infectious" riffs in the sense that they make me sick... and the "astonishing vocals" because the rhymes are astonishingly simplistic and the hooks are astonishingly familiar.

Is there ANYthing good about them?

One good thing I can say is that these guys did get my attention. I had to stop writing several times because I could only handle the songs in small doses but they moved me so much that I felt compelled to wretch myself away from leaning over the toilet bowl to write this barbaric article. If there were an award for that sort of thing, I'd give them a medal. When it's all over, I can't believe this is a legitimate attempt at "making a mark on the world". I laugh nervously and think, "Well... maybe it's a joke? Maybe they're a satire of 90's big band rockers?" Someone at least pinch me and tell me this was all a nightmare! That would be a nice catharsis for such a stressful listen. Making it through A Thousand Cures' demo was truly brutish medieval torture.

While the quality is undoubtedly one that comes with a price tag, aimed at impressing industry people, and the songs are at least structured and played deliberately, without copious mistakes, the output is still a disastrous Frankenstein of other bands we'd rather not listen to any ways. They've missed the early 90's band wagon... and I highly doubt it's coming back to pick their red velvet, leopard print asses up!

Don't believe me? Listen for yourself.

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