I’ve always wondered why some musicians become well-known while others lurk forever in obscurity. Obviously talent is not the sole factor â€“ otherwise we would hear much less of the lip-synching pop goddesses. Half of it seems to be pure, arbitrary luck, that intangible and elusive ability to be noticed by the right people at the right time. The other half seems to be riding on the crest of whatever musical trend dominates the airwaves, be it grunge, cheesy pop or quasi-punk. When a certain kind of music suddenly becomes popular, musicians and record companies alike scramble to make more music that sounds similar, under the assumption that people like to stick with the safety of what they know.
Unfortunately, this pattern of forgettable bands churning out songs for the radio that are as alike as slices of American cheese is what stands between The Tint and wider recognition. The Tint is a Boston-based band formed in 2001. They have played various clubs for about a year, and this past summer signed to a Boston label, Primary Voltage Records. In the beginning of November, they released their debut album, Captain. The band consists of guitarist and lead singer Evan Evans (the perfect name for a famous rock star), bassist Michael Geher, drummer Sean Greene and keyboard/organ player Sean Will.
The Tint is as good as anything on the radio right now, and better than a great deal of it. In the vein of a band like the Gin Blossoms, they play undiluted, straightforward rock and roll. Their songs are driven by upbeat, catchy melodies, fast rhythms, dominant, strong guitar chords and steady drumming. Evan Evans has a voice with an emotionally whiny quality, similar to the lead singer of Third Eye Blind. Though the lyrics don’t serve much of a purpose beyond providing a thin layer over the music, the little gems of exceptions reverberate every now and then. “Her smile reminded me of cracks in porcelain” stands out in “Universal,” the raucous, energetic opening track; its stick-in-your-head quality makes it a good bet for a first radio single.
The members of The Tint are not musical geniuses. With Captain, we don’t exactly have the Jimi Hendrix Experience on our hands. There’s nothing strikingly original or unusual about the music; after a few takes, all the songs begin to blur together and sound relatively similar. Yet chances are that you’ll listen to the album repeatedly because, although the sound borders on being hackneyed, catchy rock has an infectious quality that cannot be denied.
The Tint’s music isn’t revolutionary, but it succeeds at being lively and compelling, good for turning up the volume in the car. Only a few musicians can be unique and mind-blowing; the rest, with the exception of the truly horrendous, are bound to be simply a cut below. For this type of band, The Tint is more than respectable. And there’s something heartening about the fact that while there has been a recent clamor in the music world for precooked pop and the homemade comfort of emo, there’s still a band playing basic rock and roll.
However, The Tint’s most heartening quality is also its biggest problem. They don’t sound like anything on today’s radio, instead hearkening back to the days of the very early ’90s. That’s not to say that The Tint is dated; the best thing about the kind of music they play is that it always sounds good. But their music is not in sync with current radio biases. Universal lacks the bad-girl attitude of Avril Lavigne or the sex appeal of Britney Spears. If The Tint were to be picked up by a major record label, I bet they would be strongly encouraged to change their image. Then again, when there are so many cookie-cutter bands swarming around the “about-to-pop” music scene like fruit flies, you wonder why a band needing an image change would get to the next step in place of a band whose image is already homogenized.
Furthermore, The Tint is also not talented enough to get noticed purely because of their natural ability. Maybe, though, when we’ve tired of the music of the moment, the next big sound of stardom will be like The Tint’s. It’s impossible to predict, but I certainly wouldn’t mind.