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Innocent Noise - Xotica Review

by Dan Upton

Innocent Noise started off with guitarist P-Funk and drummer Brent Wetli all the way back in 1994 and added Dave Howe, their current bassist, in 1998. Their bio comments that this completed their instrumental odyssey, and I'm curious as to whether they ever recorded anything as an instrumental trio, because parts of Xotica show a knack for writing clever and interesting parts. Roughly 10 years after forming up, they added singer Craig Harrison; Xotica marks the 4-piece's second outing.

They list themselves sounding similar to, among other bands, Incubus and RHCP. This isn't too far off; Craig's vocals in particular share a lot with Incubus and Audiovent, and while the bass isn't quite as funky as anything Flea's played, Dave does have a very active style that you can't help but notice. This is especially true on the song "Moving Forward," where the guitar is mostly playing in the higher registers and so the bass is almost doubling as rhythm guitar. The guitar parts range from pretty standard chord riffing to some interesting lines, such as "Psychotic," with an energetic bit reminiscent of The Apex Theory.

Innocent Noise is another one of those bands that I feel like has a lot of talent but they're not quite to the point of realizing it and breaking loose yet. On the one hand, they may have missed the boat--when was the last time you heard anything from Audiovent or The Apex Theory? On the other hand, they may just need to work out some of the more overt sound-alike bits and really get down to making a sound for themselves. As it is, this is a pretty decent release, and I'll be watching them to see what else they come up with.

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