OPTION - # 55

MAR / APR 1994

IDAHO: Year After YearTis the year slow-core broke. Or tried to. If Red House Painters and Codeine left you thirsting for more, Idaho could be your cup of decaf. Idaho is someone’s (probably a publicist’s) idea of a sincere, authentic band, but there is an undercurrent of manipulation that leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth. Since the name “Los Angeles” evokes all the wrong things (urban unrest, earthquakes, brain-dead Hollywood types, the sun), two of that city’s denizens. Jeff Martin and John Berry, chose to call their band Idaho instead, in a feeble attempt to call forth an austere atmosphere. Berry has all the right qualifications to write deep-felt songs, if you crave deluded symbols of “authenticity” — son of a TV actor, former junkie, did some time in jail. Meanwhile, Martin’s voice is so self-absorbed, yet at the same time so banal, that it is incredibly difficult to stay focused on the music. All the tracks run far too long for their own good, except for “One Sunday,” the shortest, fastest and, not coincidentally, best song here. In fact “One Sunday” indicates Idaho could actually evolve beyond emula­tions of Nick Drake (at best) and Red House Painters (at worst). (Caroline, 114 W. 26th St., NYC10001) — Elisabeth Vincentelli