April 1998

The Inbreds - Winning Hearts
Murderecords Murd 034
Released: 1998

by Bruce Bassett

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality *1/2
Overall Enjoyment **1/2

[Reviewed on CD]In a juvenile attempt to make my review accessible to The Inbreds' target market of somewhat rebellious high-school and college students, I have devised a rating system that corresponds to a common scholastic grading scale. This A-B-C scale, as I will call it, also has the added bonus of bringing warm, fuzzy memories back to those of us who grew up with Bert and Ernie. Now class, let's begin.

A is normally for Apple, but in The Inbreds’ case it more importantly is for the word Alternativeness. And in this subject they get an A+. The music, albeit simple and straightforward, is almost entirely comprised of the electric bass, drums and vocals. Mr. Bass takes the place of Mr. Guitar, providing the rhythm, melody and riffs. In a world where most alternative music is mainstream, The Inbreds are still hangin' tuff on the fringe.

B is for Bopability. These tunes are infectiously bouncy, so on your way to gym class grab your pogo stick and prepare for a 37-minute session.

C is for Creativity. The songs are unquestionably in the same anatomical vein as Sloan and the Superfriendz. They receive a passing grade for taking that alternative sound and, through the creative use of the bass, morphing it into something they can unmistakingly call their own.

D is for Dubbing. Sorry guys, but this disc sounds bad. The mix is as bland as most of the casseroles created in home ec, and it sounds as if they borrowed Maxwell Smart's "cone of silence" to record the drum tracks.

E is for Enthusiasm. I realize that this is probably the hip vocal style of the alternative day, but the equation just does not add up. Enthusiasm (e) does not equal microphone catatonia squared (mc2).

F is for the Forgettable track entitled "Sometimes." To creatively paraphrase the lyrics: "Sometimes I don't believe they wrote this song -- oooooooh, oooh, ooooooh...."

The final grade is a solid C. Who knows? Someday, if The Inbreds study real hard and gain some more experience, they may even make the honor roll.