Is anybody else getting tired of hearing new artists that sound just like the Counting Crows and the Wallflowers? Here comes another one. Missing Joe consists of four guys who grew up in Connecticut, live in Boston, and prefer to sing about California — it’s mentioned in two songs on their new album. I guess they’ve done a lot of traveling since their 1997 EP Never Been to California.
Unequivocally, Missing Joe is a local band to the fullest extent. Maybe you saw them in a bar one time. You thought they were OK, maybe you even bought their CD. But if you did, you probably never listened to it again.
The band came up with their name after their original bassist, named Joe, decided to leave the group. Good choice, Joe. The band’s music is bearable at best, and is entirely made up of bland instrumentals, tired melodies, and indifferent lyrics.
The first track, entitled “Headphones” is about a girl who moves away to (guess where?) California. Like most of their songs, it is a boring, spacey blend of guitar and keyboards that sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack of a teen movie during an “emotional” scene. In fact, Missing Joe’s greatest claim to fame is having been featured on the soundtrack to “Dawson’s Creek.”
“Headphones” is followed by some sort of attempt at rock ‘n’ roll, called “Just One Song,” which is filled with lyrical gems such as, “You could clap or sing along/ Tell me why that would be wrong.” It would have been nice if, instead of a name for the album’s second track, “Just One Song” would have been an accurate description of the album. Unfortunately, it keeps going.
Even one of the album’s better songs, “Maybe Tonight,” is poorly arranged. The bass is mechanical at times, and the best parts of the song are drowned out by the song’s dragging, monotonous verses. And by this point, they are hardly consolation for the rest of the album anyway.
Finally, the album ends with “Fold it in a Letter,” which is a welcome, piano-based departure from the rest of the album. Lyrically it lacks direction, but by this point that no longer seems relevant. This song is the last of the record’s 10 tracks. A brief duration for the album was one of the better decisions made by the band.
Musically, Missing Joe is all filler material. No wonder they play so many gigs in bars. You can keep their music in the background, ignore it as you talk to friends, and hardly even tell the difference from one song to the next. Hopefully, they will be able to pull themselves out of this rut on future efforts.