The Grunge Value-add

Every Night (In My Room Records)
Four

By Kevin Gibson

It becomes apparent early on that Four found itself musically in the grunge era of the early 1990s, as there are plenty of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots moments on this 11-song debut. This Southern Indiana-based quartet is one of many to find inspiration in that tepid time for music - the key is what musicians do with their inspirations once they find them.

The good musicians take those influences, breed them with their own ideas and musical tendencies, shake well and end up with their own recipe, one they can continue to tinker with and improve upon as time goes by. The bad ones live for each opportunity to cover "Vasoline" and, at best, write originals that can someday hope to match the quality (?) of Seven Mary Three. Think Almost Noah, that tired bandwagon-hopping local act from a few years back, and you've got the idea.

With Every Night, Four pushes the envelope enough that it appears poised to avoid the Almost Noah pitfall. Sellersburg's Chris Meece drives the band - he's credited as chief songwriter, lead vocalist, lead guitarist and producer - and he certainly seems to understand his territory. While most of the tunes included here are fairly basic mid-tempo rock songs, Meece's writing and arranging skills show enough breadth to establish Four as, at the very least, a promising work in progress.

The title track leaps from the pack by placing a subtle melody in the middle of Four's dark tones, then the tongue-in-cheek ode "Britney" bounces out of the speakers on a happy-go-lucky guitar hook, proving that not only can Four shift gears effortlessly, but it doesn't take itself too seriously either. A couple of acoustic-based numbers - especially the sad, heartfelt "Fly" -- show a softer side of the band without stooping to the dreaded power ballad.

Every Night is a solid first effort from a band that may very soon find its niche in the music world. Grunge may be dead, but its influence continues to be felt at every turn - and thanks to the Fours of the world, it continues to improve. Check out Four at www.fourrocks.com.