Household Names The Trouble With Being Nice (Top 40)
Reviewed by Christopher Gray, Fri., Sept. 29, 2000
The Trouble With Being Nice (Top 40)Talk about top of the pops. Between Darin Murphy, the Love Supreme, Shane Bartell, Sparkwood, and Household Names, the Continental Club should seriously think about having another birthday party for Elvis -- Elvis Costello. Besides, no recent UK band is as Suede-evoking as "Carousel" on The Trouble With Being Nice, and the fistfuls of glam-drenched guitar and handclap choruses of "Bright Spot" hark back to the heyday of Oasis (remember them?). And if the opening rhythm of "One of Two Things" isn't outright fealty to AC/DC's "Back in Black," PJ Harvey needs more eye make-up. All things considered, Household Names admirably passes the test that must be applied to every pop album: It's catchy enough to get inside your head without being so derivative it wastes your time. There's too much talent in "The Great American Public" and "I'm Just the Rain" for that to be true, and "On to Me" rocks all over a melody the way the Kinks used to, even better than Blur. The Trouble With Being Nice sounds better the louder it's played, because the bigger the music is, the more memorable it gets. If Jason Garcia keeps cranking out near-anthems like "Crown of Thorns" and "God, Athena," locals will have no problem remembering, and the Brit-sized boast of his chosen moniker just might happen.