Soylent Green -- _Nutrient_ (Dawa, 1997)

Soylent Green is yet another fine band trying to bring yet another genre of music into the techno-infused late '90s. What Seal did for soulful pop, what Filter did for grungy alternative rock, what Stabbing Westward did for Heavy Metal, what U2 did for U2-style rock on their _Pop_ album, Soylent Green does for classic hard rock on _Nutrient_. Just as classic rock touches upon music from heavy metal to soulful pop, _Nutrient_ sounds in places a bit like Stabbing Westward (the aura on lead single "No Clue") and in places like a harder-edged Seal (the catchy "Safe From Harm"). The Seal comparison is particularly tough to avoid given that the Soylent boys, like Seal, also chose to do a technified cover of Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle".

Despite the strong mechanical presence, it is clear that Soylent Green is people, a live rock act among electronics, keeping a smooth classic guitar sound and allowing the songs to stretch into more organic sections among the dance patches. Traditional rock structures are really the main ingredients of the music, from uptempo rockers like "The Thing" to more blues-based, melodic tracks like "Can't" and "Ghost".

Soylent Green may well win over listeners who like the edge and energy of the techno-heavy sound but cringe at the overly mechanized feel of the "Industrial" scene. _Nutrient_ is a hard-edged and smartly-performed fusion of two styles, not Techno enough or Classic Rock enough for the blind followers of those fashions, but a tremendously successful and enjoyable listen for those who care more about music than labels and like the idea of combining the best of both worlds.

(For ordering information, check out the band's website at http://www.serge.org/soylent.htm .)


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