angst-ridden semi-grunge from 1994

February Son (Republic/Universal)

By Robert Gruber

For the next generation of Bush and Foo Fighters fans, Oleander arrives as a melodic semi-grunge dream come true. Singer/guitarist Thomas Flowers hits all the right de-tuned, angst-ridden notes, yet as chief lyricist manages to avoid the bleakness of so many from his generation of songwriters. Still, it's all a bit too, uh...1994, if you know what I mean. Even their stab at the covering an 80s tune (the current "thing to do" - in this case, "Boys Don't Cry" by the Cure) comes off forced.

To be "influenced by Nirvana" may get you played on the so-called "new rock" stations, but I'm pretty sure that the kids nowadays are defacing public property with the names of those hard-edge rap-core bands like Kornhole (or whatever that dumb band's name is). Look for Oleander in the "Marcy Playground" section of your favorite used CD store.