Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You Were Robbed – Material Issue "Destination Universe"

"You Were Robbed" features artists and bands that should have gotten much more recognition and fame than they did. Check them out now...better late than never!

At the dawn of grunge, Material Issue went against the grain to deliver concise pop rock songs stuffed to the gills with hooks and sensational harmonies. While most people would site the full-length debut “International Pop Overthrow”, from which the famous powerpop festival derived its name, as the best album by Material Issue, I will go against the grain and announce that their sophomore effort “Destination Universe” (1992) is my favorite. Blessed with astounding instincts for tasty melodies, this trio of Jim Ellison, Ted Ansani, and Mike Zelenko wrote some of the greatest pop songs of the early 90s, besting idols such as Cheap Trick during this decade (“Woke Up With A Monster” anyone?).

“Destination Universe” is devoid of filler and provides a wonderfully satisfying listen from the opening rush of the single, “What Girls Want” to the closing riffage of “If Ever You Should Fall”.

While “What Girls Want” did earn the band a little bit of attention, tracks like “Next Big Thing” and “Don’t You Think I Know” should have launched this band into superstardom. Ellison had a knack for writing about the everyday things in such moving ways.

“Who Needs Love”, “Girl from Out of This World”, and “The Loneliest Heart” also feature stellar powerpop arrangements and insightful lyrics. The record also houses one of my all-time favorite songs - the deceptively simple and achingly beautiful acoustic ballad, “Everything”. How could this not have been a hit? Wrong place at the wrong time, I guess.

The record was followed by another strong release in “Freak City Soundtrack”, but in 1996 chief songwriter, guitarist, and singer, Jim Ellison took his own life. You may be able to catch Mike Zelenko and Ted Ansani performing under the name of Material Reissue. Fans may also be interested in picking up the recently released "20th Anniversary" edition of their breakout record, “International Pop Overthrow”.

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