Richard Hatch may have won “Survivor,” but the lucrative $1 million purse certainly didn”t make him rich, and it certainly didn”t make him a winner. VH1″s “Bands on the Run” winner Flickerstick may have gotten a record deal with Epic from their victory, but being the show”s champion certainly doesn”t make them a good band.

Paul Wong
Dad, I hate you because you made “Battlefield Earth.”<br><br>Courtesy of Paramount

Flickerstick were clearly chosen for the show because of their blatant similarity to the brothers Gallagher. No, it certainly wasn”t the hooks and British looks, although singer Brandon Lea sports a shag that would certainly draw the envy of one Noel Gallagher. It is instead the band”s unique (read: Rock star clich) pension for fighting after drinking obscene amounts of alcohol. The boys reminded us all of the excesses of the “80s with their endless boozing, not to mention drummer Dominic”s prolific winning streak with the town to town female Flickerstick fanbase, he”s quite the Tommy Lee rip-off. There is enough in-band drama with Flickerstick to shelf them in a loft somewhere in New York and have their lives taped.

However, being on film is one thing, being on DAT tapes is completely different. And while we all may have rooted for Flickerstick on VH1, their major-label debut Welcoming Home the Astronauts leaves the reel spinning.

Flickerstick”s psuedo space-rock sound twists through moments of Floyd-ian brevity dumbed down to its lowest common denominator, and then grinds thru post-grunge crunched guitars at every turn. However, during this voyage into space Flickerstick often seems to forget what they are indeed doing. Their misdirections often lead listeners down roads impassable. The tweeting of guitars drone in the midst of Lea”s overdubbed whining on “Sorry … Wrong Trajectory,” a song that careens and croons through the misnomers of everything that”s wrong with music. When Lea runs out of ideas for lyrics he regurgitates whatever randomly wax”d poetic thumps through his chemically-altered head. Case in point, his lyric on “Chloroform The One You Love,” “All she needs is some chloroform and she”ll be mine.” There”s black holes abound on Flickerstick”s space voyage.

Welcoming Home isn”t a record completely unconfined by gravity. While it does spin incorrigibly out of control most of the time, a few minutes of sanity greet us on Welcoming Home. In these moments Flickerstick forgets their spaced-out premonitions and accepts reality. The reality is that Flickerstick is little more than a glorified grunge band with a keyboard and a lucky break courtesy of VH1. When they accept that and play their derivative post-grunge kitsch is when they are at their brightest. Unfortunately for them, that bright spot is anything but a supernova.

Grade: C-

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