(13 May 2000) Winners of the 1998 Musician Magazine Best Unsigned
Band Competition 17 Reasons Why's debut album is entitled The Dark Years
(Laundry Room Records (USA) LRR9609, 1997). The 11-track recording is
comprised of rocking numbers and ballads fronted by vocalist and rhythm
guitar player Sattie Clark. The Portland, Oregon-based band also includes
Chris Nolan (bass), Kirk Nebel (lead guitar), Eric Kaster (drums) and Abbie
Gonzalez (harmony vocals). The album is easy to listen to and draws interest
from first listen and the opening rocker "Look For You."
Vocals throughout the album are mixed way up, just as Musical Discoveries
readers typically like them. Sattie's voice is reminsicent of Maria Miller
(Crannog), especially in the softly rocking
"Independence" and "Mercy." Vocal harmonies provide additional texture to
the tracks when they are included.
The album's more rocking numbers pay equal attention to the vocals,
never drowning them out with guitar-based instrumentals. "Intense,"
"Mercy" and the highly accessible "Parallel Lines" are examples of the
band's most dynamic sounds. The rhythmic "Rearview Mirror" is a slower
rock number; the impressive guitar parts within it seem to work well
with the range of Sattie's vocals adding substantial atmosphere to the
track. We were most reminded of the early 70s with the highly accessible
rock'n'roll number "Nothing Left To Talk About" which has a chorus with
a real hook and a harmonica to add texture to the overall sound.
17 Reasons Why music can evoke a broad range of emotions. In "Splinter"
a soft rock theme joins an otherwise bluesy vocal and supporting instrumental
texture. "Birthday" goes deeper into a raunchier blues-like theme. The
ballad "The Dream Inside The Dream" draws on other strings to produce an
extremely sensuous and evocative sound. A soft ballad entitled "White
Linen" concludes the album and features Satties most sensitive vocals
over light acoustic guitar and light strings alone. A lovely bonus track
well into the twelfth slot features sensitive vocals over a very
light piano acompaniment is actually a unique reprise of "Splinter."
You can read further reviews, listen to sound samples and order their
album The Dark Years from amazon.com
here. With a broad range of adult alternative rock songs and excellent
songwriting joining Sattie Clark's vocal talents, 17 Reasons Why's album is
worth a journey and is a very nice listen!