Sound — 8
California-based 2Cents undoubtedly seems to be enjoying itself and plays with plenty of enthusiasm on its major label debut Lost At Sea, which is absolutely a refreshing occurrence in today's overproduced music machine. The problem with 2Cents lies primarily in the fact that there it often feels a lot like what other bands have done in the past. For fans of straightforward rock -- the screaming kind, more specifically -- 2Cemts will be a worthwhile listen. But 2Cents at times still sounds a bit too familiar in its approach to songwriting on Lost At Sea. It should be said that the guitar work from Dave O'Rourke and Dean Woodward is the highlight of the CD. Pretty much every song is filled with classic-sounding riffs and harmonies that are executed beautifully. O'Rourke and Woodward actually have some of their best work in a ballad called A Song For Darrell Abbott, easily the best track on Lost At Sea. With a title like that you might assume it would be filled with techniques made famous by Dimebag Darrell, but it is subdued in its delivery. Even without the presence of a raging tempo and distortion, the guitar solos are memorable and really show of the talent of 2Cents. Unfortunately, it's the base songwriting that is a bit lacking on the rest of the record. It's not a terrible listen by any means, but vocalist/drummer Adam O'Rourke has a tendency to lay it on a bit thick. At times his roaring vocals sound a bit like Zack de la Rocha, but it just doesn't carry the same effect. There is plenty of screaming about enemies, but the subjects he screams about just don't seem quite as important as the politically charged lyrics of de la Rocha. Adam O'Rourke definitely deserves credit for tackling both drums and vocals, a balancing act not often attempted in rock. It's probably better to fully grasp what the band is about through its live performance, but Lost At Sea does maintain a constant energy throughout the track list. If you're looking for a band that offers a little more than some cool riffs and a driving energy, however, you probably will have to look elsewhere.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics reflect the often angry tone to the music, with mixed results. In a song like My Two Wives, there are plenty of paradoxical images that are a great addition to the song. It's nice to have little twists in the verses that you wouldn't necessarily expect. O'Rourke sings, Look things over through their eyes; Babies breath or kitchen knives; I can't tell which one will lie; It's my two wives. The track is an interesting listen, and the lyrics have a huge part to do with it. Victim Of Pop Culture just seems a little too clich at times, and is one of the tracks that seems like a watered-down Rage track. O'Rourke sings, Lights out, brain dead; Another victim of pop culture; Small minds, force fed; Another victim of pop culture. Sure the band has a point, but it does get a bit repetitive and old after a while.
Overall Impression — 8
While 2Cents might not be the most original band on the scene, there are quite a few moments when the guitars do make a huge impression. With that kind of talent behind it, the band could just be needing a little more time to shape their sound. From the solos to the restrained intro of A Song For Darrell Abbott, the guitarists consistently stand out in the band. It's hard to say if Adam O'Rourke's vocal style is somewhat limited by playing drums at the same time, but at this point he is sounding too much like a lot of screamers out there. Hopefully the band will focus as much on the melodic aspect of O'Rourke's vocals on future albums, making the singer's dual vocalist/drummer gig all the more impressive. The guitarists already have impressive chops, so riff fans will have a worthwhile listen in the meantime.