A couple of years ago I was first exposed to the experience of seeing a Live concert. It may have been on TV, but it sparkled something because of their energy and, well, their pretty good songs. That was just after "Throwing Copper" was released, a fine album, consisting almost exclusively of really good tracks (only the last one was kindof crap). There were sensitive ballads and a couple of songs with balls and, to make a long story short, I just liked it.

"Secret Samadhi" came next. I initially thought it couldn't hold a candle to "Throwing Copper". Then it started to grow after a couple of listens. It became a good second (their first generally available album, "Mental Jewellery", didn't cut it for me at all, maybe that's where all the comparisons with the simply horrendous R.E.M. came from).

More or less on a whim I recently got their latest, "The Distance to Here". Well, not exactly on a whim, but after seeing the closing minute or two of the video clip for "The Dolphin's Cry" (yes, MTV works I am afraid).

I can't say that "The Distance to Here" is not a bum purchase. Not a lemon at all. Of course's there's the powerful "The Dolphin's Cry", but there's a couple of other gems on there as well. "Run to the Water" and "Sun" are such little gems with Live's characteristic loudness/speed changes and Ed Jowalczyk's emotional voice. Some people complained that "Secret Samadhi" was a bit too clinical, didn't display sufficient emotion. Well, "The Distance to Here" makes up for that even if it would only have had the sensitive ballad "Dance with You" on there.

The only bad thing I can think of is that, now, "Secret Samadhi" is now no longer second-best...

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Written November 1999


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