The Special Goodness - Land, Air, Sea...
Weezer drummer Pat Wilson and ex-Rocket From The Crypt drummer Atom Willard have formed a makeshift, sideline/moonlighting band known as The Special Goodness purely for fun, and their album Land, Air, Sea… displays a smile throughout its radio rock forty minutes.
Listening to Pat and Atom pound out twelve punk-pop classics with as much melodic fine-tuning as power-chord attitude makes you realise that we are seriously going through a drought of bands who let their guitars scream without letting their vocals do the same. It’s almost the perfect companion to any American college teen skateboarding on a sunny day to his bus stop, and it sounds like Ben Folds and Ben Kweller rocking out together without any of Folds’ tongue-in-cheek witticisms.
Whereas Weezer hit the mainstream with The Green Album, The Special Goodness thrive on ensuring that the finished product isn’t completely polished. On standout-by-a-mile track N.F.A, which contains fabulous swirling riffs and a brilliant “She loves me and I’m not fucking around with her” chorus, the main Wilson vocal is still buried somewhat amidst the mix. You can almost sense that analogue hiss even if you can’t quite hear it. Even Oops conjures up an imaginary Weird Al Yankovic in your head, as if you’ve been thrown back to a rock-eighties hour on MTV.
In terms of subtlety, The Special Goodness are completely lacking. This is big, fun punk-pop that employs nothing but primary colours in its tone. Having said that, they sing about the seasonal change in Day In The Autumn as if the musically the sun is still shining. It seems that it’s always summer in the land of The Special Goodness, as if each of the twelve tracks would fit nicely into the bridge between the second and third act of an American Pie film. That doesn’t demean it, but rather praises it for being hip enough and accessible enough to soundtrack teenage rites of passage, even if Pat Wilson is himself reaching his mid-thirties.
Still, Land, Air, Sea… has enough good moments, in both songwriting and guitar fun to attract a decent level of praise. It doesn’t possess the ultra-pretentious hardcore image of Fred Durst and it understands that the core of any musical special goodness lies in its songs, and not a volume turned up to eleven.