A Little Bit Of Somethin'
Mo' Wax/beggars Banquet
By: Eric G.
When you’re famous for one thing it is rarely a good idea to try your hand at another, especially in the public eye. How many paintings do you own by Eve Plumb? Did you pick up a copy of U.S. Olympic star Alexi Lalas’ rock album, Ginger? Maybe you were too busy going to see Michael Jordan play baseball. Jennifer Lopez managed to slip under the radar and have a hit song only because she’s got back. So, yeah, it is possible to pull off the dual career thing, but the odds are against you. Just ask Jessie Camp.
Tommy Guerrero is a world-renowned skateboarder and former member of Powell Peralta’s Bones Brigade, who is now giving experimental trip-hop a shot. This is actually his second such outing- he achieved minor success with his debut, Loose Grooves And Bastard Blues in 1998. As a skater Guerrero probably got punk out of his system because there is nary a trace of it in his music, unless you count short songs as a punk affectation. Guerrero seems more influenced by flamenco, jazz, blues, and, of course, trip-hop.
A Little Bit Of Somethin’ is an accurate title. A Little Bit Of Somethin’ Good But Really Not Much might have been better, though. This music is neither inventive nor unique, but it is mildly intriguing. Guerrero certainly doesn’t sound amateurish. He’s a competent guitarist whose melodies are dark and somber, but there’s just not enough going on to perk your ears up or sustain your attention. The beats are predictably slow and smooth on “Blues Masses”, and the snaky bass line compliments it well. It just seems more like a snippet than a song. Its abrupt ending only adds fuel to the fire.
“Four Track Samba” is light acoustic pop set to a primitive drum pattern. Again, it’s a good start, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. “Tiny” is the first song you can really sink your teeth into. Haunting keyboards underscore a minor-key guitar line while high-pitched noises flare in the background. Guerrero’s tendency to mix dreamy soundscapes with ethnic instrumentals grows tiresome, though. The music becomes a sort of wallpaper while your mind wanders, which is never a good sign, unless zoning out is your goal.
“Flux And Meter” has a street sensibility that can’t be faked. Guerrero’s funky side emerges through heavily treated guitars, hand claps, and those high-end style keyboard lines that Dr. Dre made famous on The Chronic. Guerrero has the goods as evidenced on “So Black It’s Blue”, but he doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. A Little Bit Of Somethin’ is nothing to be embarrassed about; Guerrero will probably put out a solid record someday. This one just isn’t it.