Wan Santo Condo
Reviewed by Matt Dentler, Fri., Oct. 22, 2004
Wan Santo Condo(Everloving) The 1990s are history, so let's close the time capsule. This is an era acts such as Austin's Wan Santo Condo take too much inspiration from. The group has been on the verge of this debut LP for years; only now the dust has collected. So much so, in fact, that defunct bands like Soundgarden and the Smashing Pumpkins inspire Wan Santo Condo more than themselves. Singer Bob Via sounds like no one but Chris Cornell when he belts his way through "Never" and "I Wish I Was a Drug." He also demonstrates his love for latter-day Cult with Ian Astbury homage "Laurelei." Under the layers of this 120 Minutes marathon, a powerful but reserved Wan Santo Condo stands forward. This seems to be what they're striving for, using help behind the boards from Sean Beavan (Marilyn Manson) and in front of the mic courtesy of Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner ("Strip the Feel"), both perennials of 1990s radio. All is nearly forgiven on instances of tender pop perfection, like the stunning first single, "How Does It Feel?" On this song and others, Via takes his voice places even Cornell can't go, evoking Britpop influences that transcend any era. Nevertheless, a war with Iraq and Bush in the White House is no excuse for new music to sound like 1991.