monotonous melancholy

Lemon Parade (Polydor)

By Kory Wilcoxson

If you want to make the kind of melancholy rock found on Lemon Parade, it has to be done well. There's a fine line between quality and banality with this kind of music, and too many time Tonic drifts to the wrong side.

They start on the right foot with "Open Up Your Eyes," a guitar-driven song that meanders its way through verse and chorus. It has enough of a hook to be listenable without plunging into any sort of smarmy pop song.

Unfortunately, "Eyes" is the highlight of the album, and there's still about 45 minutes left. The band doesn't have the firepower of Bush or the intensity of Live; Tonic tries to be more than it really is. Most songs, like "Soldier's Daughter," seem to drag on forever without making any real progress.

Emerson Hart's voice and Jeff Russo' guitars are a bit monotonous, and that spells trouble for a band whose songs are all cut from the same cloth. Similarity in songwriting demands diversity in execution, and Tonic just does not do it.