If you’re wondering what it sounds like to be on a major label and not sell out, go get the new Ours album, Precious. It’s the sound of five guys who still have their musical integrity intact, because no one could sell out and make music like this. Maybe we should thank Dreamworks, but more likely credit goes to Jimmy Gnecco, the mastermind behind Ours. It may take a few listens, maybe more, to get into Precious. Yeah it’s a little bit different, somehow not quite like the stuff you’re hearing on the radio. That’s the first tip off this is going to be worthwhile.

Paul Wong
Rating: three and a half stars.

Gnecco can’t help but be compared to Jeff Buckley, a likening that has been made since the release of the 2001 debut album Distorted Lullabies. So why not pick up a Buckley album and enjoy his soft croon? Because Gnecco and the boys have more attitude and play darker music. Buckley was not a happy-go-lucky chap, but Gnecco sounds like he never wears anything but black. And face it, it’s really fun to sing as high as you can, “Alright, alright / my feet keep on taking me back, back, back to those places” on “Places.”

It’s hard to say if this 12-track album is good. Gnecco wails out lyrics in his highest falsetto (read: glass-shattering) and the band plays dark, gloomy music about, well, stuff. It’s hard to say what Gnecco is singing about, and this despite lyrics being included in the liner notes. The most straight-forward track is probably “In A Minute,” but that was written by guitarist Dave Milone. And oh yeah, there’s a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale,” darker and fuller sounding than the original, but otherwise Ours didn’t alter much.

Many songs are slow, with a driving drum beat and Gnecco crooning, screeching, singing, muttering. The music borders on goth, alternative rock and something that would scare your little sister. Vague? So is the sound of Ours. It’s not happy, so don’t expect to get any sort of pick-me-up feeling from these twelve tracks. The music is intense, sometimes slow, rarely hard. Did I mention that the songs are catchy? But probably not right away. At first you might be extremely turned off by Gnecco’s voice and the music which, at times, is almost boring, but only until the patterns and intricacies become evident. Suddenly you’re bopping your head and singing along.

Ours has a lot of passion, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been strained through the colander known as the record industry. If nothing else, grant them respect for that, and enjoy this rock album.

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