The Terms - Small Town Computer Crash by Monya De 6.21.6
Molasses. That's what I thought when I cued up the debut release by New Orleans sensitive-rock band The Terms . Ben Labat's mature, full voice made me salivate, not just for a sweet dessert but for a more innocent time filled with picnics and twilight walks. That first song, "Big City," on Small Town Computer Crash, does a great job of showcasing Labat's hybrid of the pipes belonging to Chris Cornell and Lifehouse's Jason Wade. His band, composed of five former students at LSU, creates a sound not unlike that of the successful LSU-produced Better than Ezra. In their current tour of mostly Southern cities, The Terms have wisely chosen to join BTE for a date or two, in addition to the Von Bondies.
Labat and friends started out doing Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash covers in bars in Louisiana "having a great time.with sorority girls taking care of us." But they were soon discovered in their own right as songwriters and performers, and are now on the fast track to fame.
Introspective pop-rock is not all these young heartthrobs can conjure up. On "Welcome to the Now", Labat bursts forth with a big sound that earned the song a role in LSU's national ad campaign. His band wakes up too, with Clyde Hargrove ripping through searing electric guitar parts. Still, Labat seems somewhat restrained; he obviously has even more snarl and wail in him, and it would be delicious to hear. The band is also getting exposure with "Ransom Groove" being featured as the end credit in a new Kevin Spacey film.
The Terms must be commended for making their release unconventional. With songs with titles like "Langlonglen (Fairytale Life)" (a beautiful song) they aren't sticking to the obvious. Still, they also construct their lyrics around the mythical girl-on-a-pedestal, sure to draw in gaggles of preteen girls.
What's missing from The Terms ' release is some gutsy production. There is such a wealth of electronic effects and filters now. Though the Southern-rock sound is a wonderful thing, the next release by the band would sound great with some vocoding and effects on a few tunes. Greg Ladanyi is a producer with an impressive client list that includes Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, but the band could take advantage of not living in the seventies.