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Sybil Vane
     

Sybil Vane

by Sybil Vane
 
Sybil Vane marked Island's unlikely entry into the grunge lexicon of flying flannel, threshing tempos, and self-loathing lyrical stances cranked to the proverbial pain level. But the label known for its reggae and progressive rock leanings didn't land another grunge-come-lately outfit, although anyone caught up in "Pixy"'s opening maelstrom might be forgiven for

Overview

Sybil Vane marked Island's unlikely entry into the grunge lexicon of flying flannel, threshing tempos, and self-loathing lyrical stances cranked to the proverbial pain level. But the label known for its reggae and progressive rock leanings didn't land another grunge-come-lately outfit, although anyone caught up in "Pixy"'s opening maelstrom might be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Drums whirl like helicopter blades under bone-rattling guitars that could give the likes of Smashing Pumpkins some actual sleepless nights. The deliberate tempo concedes nothing in intensity, let alone message: "There's no passion in pretending." Hopefully, some smart compiler will resurrect the song on some '90s retrospective. As a whole, however, this album has a glossier, more disciplined sheen than most '90s acts managed -- with a poppier bent. "Sorry" and "Drag" are shining snapshots swept along by April Devereaux's breathless vocal power. She's one of the stars here, along with guitarist Dave Hillis and producer Rick Parashar, who makes his presence felt on guitar, piano, and even tambura. The band does uphold alternative-era conventions, like the loud-soft contrast that became standard after Nevermind, and Devereaux's lyrics uphold the tetchiness associated with the genre: she's either busy berating her lover ("Why can't you be a man?") or threatening to leave him in the dust ("Get along, the past is gone"). If there's a flaw here, it's the nagging sameness of sound; after hearing "Pixy"'s righteous thunder, you'll have impatience with anything that doesn't bust as loose. But there's a handful of gems to make this album worthwhile, including the six-minute closer, "Intoxication," whose delicate, cello-punctuated intro yields to swirling, mid-tempo guitars and a message that became painfully familiar among the alternative set: "I drift away to a world where there is no pain/I forget there is time, don't have to think." In short, not a buried treasure, but a minor classic.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/28/1995
Label:
Polygram Records
UPC:
0731452407429
catalogNumber:
524074

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