Filter – Short Bus

3 out of 5

Produced by: Brian Liesegang, Richard Patrick

Label: Reprise

Shooed off from NiN’s touring band, encouraged to try his own thing, Filter’s Richard Patrick had a desire to do something slightly more guitar-first than the classic industrial group.  For better or worse, this equated to something of a precursor to nu-metal; for better when Filter nabs some NiN grooves, or carves out a song that’s more than just a heavy rock hook, for worse when the songs are mainly the latter, with a topping of generic angst lyrics shouted via distorted vocals.

Classic single Hey Man Nice Shot is probably the best synthesis of the former example, its pulsing beat vaguely Reznorish, with a much more alterna-rock flare when the guitars kick in.  Track 3 (Under) follows suit in terms of its notable beat and progressive drumming, but features a lot of distorty-yelly as well, which ends up being an unfortunate (as its rather one note) component of most of the disc.  Clear compositional talent sneaks through, though: The acoustic Take Another and the thrashy Gerbil both find some off beat elements that are surprising amidst the more generic stuff, and It’s Over and Consider This open up in the shouts to go straight grunge, which results in some pretty great, fleshed out tracks.

Overall, the album dips too frequently into a particularly angry, yelly dude format.  Even though it was years before that was the de facto alternative to, like, Britney Spears and Snoop Dogg, it’s rarely a style that offers much ingenuity, thus keeping the album’s highlights from raising it to better than average.