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Reviewed on 1st January 2002.



By The Definitve List

There comes a point when someone has to say: "OK lads, that'll do. Now go away and have another listen to the stuff you're borrowing". To be precise, listen to Rainbow "The Best of Rainbow: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection" on Universal/Polydor.

The Definitive List might be a band that could do with that kind of guidance. There's definitely something in there that ought to be encouraged. A nice guitar line on "World From Your Eyes" at track 2, some neat bass lines throughout, an adventurous bluesy solo on "Long Time" at track 4 and an honest open attitude that doesn't try to pretend to experiences and emotions that aren't real. The recording is pretty tight for a first crack. The drumming is basic but sound. They sound like good people.

But the first song kicks of with some unsteady chord playing, bashfully getting into a pattern that ends up a bit pale compared to the swirling goats' blood soup of "Since You've Been Gone". That old Russ Ballard song pretty much killed off exactly the same chords in 1979 (or thereabouts) when Richie Blackmore finally got Rainbow into Top of the Pops territory. They're still in wide circulation, passing from one bedroom session to another, but it's almost impossible to keep them sounding fresh.

What those bands did in the 70's was pick up the easy money by adding new levels of distortion, sustain and volume to make simple chords and clumsy changes sound exciting and cool by filling in all the embarrassing gaps with great resonant noise. And Fender guitars meant the barred chords were EASY TO PLAY as well! But power chords hardly ever work anymore. It's a lazy way to get dramatic effect, and our ears are becoming immune. They contribute a lot to what people mean by "sounds like a local band".

None of this is The Definitive List's fault. I'm not bitching at them in particular. Small audiences and optimistic promoters do seem to tolerate, and even encourage it, to a surprising extent. In the long line of local bands doing cheesy "rock" anthems with reedy voices and vacuous lyrics The Definitive List are well outside the relegation zone and they have good reason to feel pleased with this early recording. But they are good enough, and they report some recent personnel changes. So I believe they ought to be able to stop doing this stuff pretty soon and think about making some real music from their own experience in this century.

The idea of "Everyone gotta have someone to love" (track 3 "Someone") has, by the way, also been used before. But a lot punchier (check out the Blues Brothers version). Guns n Roses can also be mentioned in relation to the opening chords of "Long Time" at track 4. Every Rose, does indeed have its Sad Sad Cowboy.

It's worth remembering that we are now, officially, further away in history from Led Zeppelin than John Lennon was from Vera Lynne.



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