Xylophagous (Independent)

100 Acre Wood

By Kevin Gibson

How appropriate that this band is named after a place in literature, where Christopher Robin plays.

Because, like great literature, 100 Acre Wood's music is all-encompassing cerebral and emotional. It is important.

Stephen King will never be considered literary because his intent is to shock; Danielle Steele will never see the inside of a Norton's Anthology because her chief goal is to arouse her readers sexually. Likewise, White Zombie's music is loud violent and graphic, much like King's craft Like Steele's writing, Madonna s music is — well, let's just say she won't be invited to many church socials.

While all these artists sell a lot of books and compact discs, the breadth of their scope is narrow, and somewhat less than memorable.

Then you have bands like the six-member 100 Acre Wood, which recently released its second collection of music, Xylophagous. Mixing elements from a variety of different genres and writing sincere, thoughtful lyrics, this Southern Indiana group is total honesty and originality.

From the frantic "Wip" to the sad and serene yet beautiful "Kiln For You and Me," this 13-track collection takes the listener through a spectrum of moods, emotions and musical inferences.

If you thought you heard a Hendrix-influenced guitar solo in there, you're right. If that fiddle swimming in the background made you think of the Chieftains, right again. And, of course, these woodlanders have never denied having a profound respect for the Beatles.

Like a great novel, however, Xylophagous is derivative of nothing in particular and aimed at no specific market or group. We have tales of death, anger, love and heartbreak all intertwined and told from honest perspectives. The characters within are very real, indeed.

And so are the chances of this compact disc touching the soul of anyone who listens to it.