This is a review of "Year of Evolution" recorded by Tug Ether. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2004.
Eddie Vedder inspired an entire generation of rock vocalists to realise they could sing respectably, Chris Cornell spread the word with Soundgarden, but more recent acts have pushed it to exhaustion i.e. Staind, Muddle of Pud and Nickleshat. Despite attending the same vocal classes Tug Ether have actually managed to produce an incredibly fresh sounding record in what is becoming a well-worn genre. Reminiscent of the earlier pioneers rather than the more recent self-important twaddle, they keep it inventive, melodic, gritty and honest. It's a distinctively American sound with no room for Brit Rock, but when you write good songs it matters not.
Other than the Pearl Jam influences the band draw in some occasional Rage Against The Machine not to mention the odd throaty hardcore "gaaawwwggh" all to solid effect.
Highlights of the 12 songs on offer come from the clever stereo of opener "Woho", the RATM guitar thumping of "Guidance", the fantastic orchestration of epic "Companion" - in fact the genre has offered few songs as good as this in recent memory - and the edgy powerhouse of "Envy Orleans".
If there is any criticism to be levied at Tug Ether, it is how derivative this album is. The song writing and musicianship is a cut above but the overall impact is lessoned by what has already come before. However the very fact that Tug Ether are as good as what has come before places them in good stead for what will surely come next - success!