October 13, 2000

Hearts of Palm
Idaho Music

Idaho the state can be summarized as Americaís premier source for potatoes. Idaho the band is almost just as interesting.

With low-key guitar numbers and attempts at artiness, this duo seeks a place among pop songwriters of the underground variety, though its cool-as-ice approach to its music makes Heats of Palm a little too chilly to be easily swallowed.

Though Idahoís change from the avalanche of trashy rockíníroll acts and super sensitive emo bands is a much-needed reprise from predictability, thereís not much in the way of songwriting to sustain its break from the pack. Neither overly arty, too creative, very abrasive nor particularly striking in any sense whatsoever, Idaho easily falls between the cracks in an already over-saturated musical world. In a time when nearly every act has a gimmick, a twist or some flash in hope of making it stand out, Idahoís no-frills rock isnít enough to earn it much attention at all.

It certainly doesnít help that Idahoís fare isnít all that hot to begin with. Though the duoís arrangements arenít too shabbyó"To Be the One," features somewhat engrossing keyboard melodies while the lolling, slightly distorted guitars in "Alta Dena" strike a rare warm toneóthere isnít enough of anything on this album. Whether it aims for the sensitivity of a singer/songwriter or the flashiness of pop, Idaho needs to pump up its efforts. Splitting the difference between art and pop isnít going to win the band many fans, especially when singer Jeff Martinís voice is thrown over the top of them. Crooning with a voice only Eddie Vedderís mother could love, Martinís tortured vocal tracks donít do his music any favors.

Itís too bad this album has so many holes in it, as if thereís only one thing clear in the music, itís that Idaho is doing exactly what it wants to do. Itís not chasing down a style in hopes of hitting the musical lotto and becoming the next big thing. Itís not out to prove its credibility or affiliation in any scene. Idaho is just Idaho, which, if nothing else, is a ray of light in an otherwise drab Hearts of Palm.

- Matt Schild

this review is/was available on www.aversion.com
and is available here for archival purposes