Battle Cry for Help (Expansion Team)
Reviewed by Michael Bertin, Fri., June 29, 2001
Battle Cry for Help (Expansion Team)Here's some advice for Grand Champeen: don't get involved with Tabitha Soren or Winona Ryder. If these kids adhere to that dictum, everything else should be cream cheese. Why? Well, when li'l Davie Pirner got mixed up with those two, his band started sucking wimpy power-ballad ass. Seeing how Grand Champeen does Clam Dip and Made to Be Broken-era Soul Asylum as well as Soul Asylum ever did, it would be a shame to see another bitchin' cool rock & roll band victimized into mediocrity by a couple of foul temptresses. And on Battle Cry for Help, the local foursome's second full-length effort, Grand Champeen connects with (pre-October) Barry Bonds-like power and frequency. Suffice it to say: sophomore slump my butt. The album may be best described in terms of what it's not. It's not boring, not slow, not dimwitted, not clumsy, not always nice ("Miss Out"), not for expectant mothers or the weak at heart, song-to-song not much longer than Bob Pollard's attention span can handle, and not much for wasted motion. On just about each of the LP's 14 tracks, the formula is pretty simple: get in, tear it up, get out, do it again. Not an equation of groundbreaking genius, perhaps, but Battle Cry for Help does what it does -- namely rock with unapologetic zeal -- so well that lack of originality is no deterrent to grabbing the volume knob and cranking it just a little further to the right.