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Ozma - Spending Time On The Borderline (Cover Artwork)

Ozma

Ozma: Spending Time On The BorderlineSpending Time On The Borderline (2003)
Kung Fu Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: maverickScott
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ozma has been pegged for years as a cheap Weezer imitation. While both bands do share many things in common - an unhealthy obsession of foreign culture [Weezer with Asia, Ozma with Russia], powerful, chunky guitar riffs, a fascination with MOOGs - I detect something more there. Listening to the ba.
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Ozma has been pegged for years as a cheap Weezer imitation. While both bands do share many things in common - an unhealthy obsession of foreign culture [Weezer with Asia, Ozma with Russia], powerful, chunky guitar riffs, a fascination with MOOGs - I detect something more there. Listening to the band's newest release, "Spending Time On The Borderline," I don't hear Weezer as much as I hear Cheap Trick.

Yeah, that's right, Cheap Trick. One of the greatest, yet most underappreciated, rock bands of our time [not to mention they're from my hometown and I know all their kids]. Ozma's opening track, "Spending Time," is chock full of so much 70s bombast that it would have sounded great live at Budokan. Sure, there's some MOOG in there, but Weezer this is not.

The band then takes two completely different stylistic turns with the next two songs, "Your Name" and "Come Home Andrea." The former is a moody, soft ballad comparable to something like Elliott Smith, and the latter is almost an alt-country song, reminding me of earlier Wilco or maybe the Jayhawks. So far, this album is all over the map, and I like it like that.

The album's single, "Bad Dogs," is as hard rock as this band has ever been. To be fair, this does sound like Weezer.

A lot.

Moving on - Some of the material on this album dates back to the band's first tour with Weezer in 2001, as I remember hearing "Eponine" live in Milwaukee and being blown away by the song. Finally, the track makes it to an album [along with other long time fan favorite "Game Over"], but it lost a bit of it's shine over the past 2 years. It's still a great track, and fun as hell to belt out "OOOOOH! My Eponine / can't you hear the words I sing / can't you hear the woooooooooords I sing" as you drive down the street.

The instrumentation on this album is rather impressive. Keyboardist Star Wick once again picks up the flute on some songs for a new-jazz flavor, and the band drops string arrangements in a handful of tracks, as well as marching drums [in the aforementioned "Bad Dogs"]. The group is still stuck in a "pop" mode, but they seem to be experimenting as much as they can under their pre-defined role as a band.

I have never been the biggest fan of this band [writing them off after they opened for Weezer, and only owning "Rock and Roll Part 3" because I got it for free], but after this album, they've definitely piqued my interest. The band's past has been cemented in geek rock history, but tracks like "Curve In the Old 1-9" shows me that Ozma is just getting started. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what they do next.

MP3s
Bad Dogs
Game Over

VIDEO
Bad Dogs

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (June 4, 2003)

man, y'all better not be hatin' on ozma. they're better then the shit thats out right now.

Anonymous (May 16, 2003)

I really wish to thank the reviewer for actually taking care to listen to the cd and for looking past the weezer influences...as someone who constantly listens to both bands, i can honestly say that ozma has much more dynamics (with different instruments and better vocals) than weezer and are the better technical band...thanks again

Anonymous (May 12, 2003)

Boycott 12centmusic for spamming these comments.

maverick (May 11, 2003)

Well said, Jonathan.

But the first song still sounds like Cheap Trick.

-Scott

ommaddon (May 11, 2003)

This Ozma release definitely isn't just a weezer influenced ripoff/rehash. For my money this one is pretty damn good. They're expanding musically... a weezer sound? Sure. But add some Lou Reed, some Frank Black, some whatever rock band who happened to come before. (I don't know about Cheap Trick, though....) But I think it's pretty clear that Ozma needs to exist. weezer's first two albums seem to just enamor everybody. Rightly so...but certainly there's some Velvet Underground and some Elvis Costello, and some Pixies (among others) in weezer's old sound. So why does Ozma get spit on so much for having a similar influence? Yeah, weezer came first, and weezer lost it. Enter Ozma.

No they're not as good as blue/pink era weezer.... And neither is the current weezer. Ozma lands in the middle between the two. I'm digging the diversity they're playing now. I mean, check out "Come Home Andrea" or ‚??Your Name‚?Ě and try to tell me they sound like weezer. No way. Sure, some songs do--but to me, it's been a long time since weezer sounded as good as "Light Years Will Burn" or "Restart." "Game Over" is pretty damn catchy, too.

The reason weezer sucks now is because there's no fucking heart in the music. It's motions. It's generic. Rivers operates as a machine--look at that supposed 1000 song demo count. Prolific, perhaps, but the songs are so uninteresting. There is no fucking formula for a "perfect rock song." His quest is in vain. What made weezer great, how Ozma succeeds, is by breaking formula, or at least straying at times. Like dynamics, meter changes, varied instrumentation, and understanding that sometimes it's okay just to hear drums, or just to hear vocals...not everything all at once.

weezer can't even rest on its laurels. They fell from a rare, amazing greatness to pure mediocrity. Until Rivers hits rock bottom and realizes that everything weezer once was, once stood for, is mostly destroyed, maybe he'll abandon formula and put some heart into the music, if only out of desperation. They maybe we'll see his band get good again. So until then, I'd rather listen to Ozma. It's just more interesting music. And they, in some small way, lessen the sadness. weezer is probably dead.

- Jonathan

Anonymous (May 11, 2003)

ok the catholic dude is a fuck,go grow a beard and wear some sandals,mxpx sux Oi!

Anonymous (May 11, 2003)

why would you look forward to what they do next if this album wasn't so good?
-tbones

Anonymous (May 11, 2003)

These guys aren't that bad. Come fucking on.

Strewtho (May 11, 2003)

He may be joking but the joke stinks.

inagreendase (May 11, 2003)

theres still too much sarcasm on this site to weed out whose actually being sincere. but in my "humble" opinion (get it?) the mxpx quote had be a tipoff saying he was kidding

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

was that jesus kid for real? what the -fuck- is he talking about

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

Hmmm I wonder who this band sounds like? hmmm its a little familiar. Its on the tip of my tounge...damn. Wait! I got it! This is a cover band isnt it? Damn if only I can remember who they are covering.

relay1112 (May 10, 2003)

"Punk isn't for Jesus-Freaks you fucker. Go worship or something instead of posting on here"

Hahahah! Whoosh indeed! That went far, FAR over your head.

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

Whoosh!

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

Punk isn't for Jesus-Freaks you fucker. Go worship or something instead of posting on here

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

This CD has a song called "Bad Dogs"?! I had to re-read that statement nearly twenty times before it sunk into my head. I cannot believe that this CD was allowed on the market. It is very unholy and probably racist. If these guys ever come to my church in Oklahoma, I will see to it that they cannot rent the basement to play their demonic Hell-songs.

-Holy Douglas-

(God bless MxPx!)

CallingLondon (May 10, 2003)

Wait a sec...I haven't heard this album...but wasn't the last Weezer album described as "a 70's style bombastic rock album reminiscent of Cheap Trick" by virtually every reviewer on the planet? Maybe the parrots are just expanding their repetoire...

you've got a point there...

tenderbransonx (May 10, 2003)

Standing outside a show I hear this "I love Ozma. They rip off Weezer but at least the admit it. Thats what makes them so great." I just can't bring myself to punch a guy with emo glasses.
-steven www.murdertheturtle.com

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

Wait a sec...I haven't heard this album...but wasn't the last Weezer album described as "a 70's style bombastic rock album reminiscent of Cheap Trick" by virtually every reviewer on the planet? Maybe the parrots are just expanding their repetoire...

Anonymous (May 10, 2003)

Cheap Trick were and are a great band, I saw them live a few years ago and they put on a high quality solid performance. Elo Kiddies is punker than anything cranked out nowadays.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

Dude. Did you just call Cheap Trick, "One of the greatest, yet most underappreciated, rock bands of our time"? Jesus man, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse. I mean wow. ... wow.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

You forgot something though Scott ... Bad Dogs sounds a lot like Weezer in their Green Album-era phase (as in, terrible) ...

I love Ozma, but that song really bugs me.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

Would it be so bad if they sounded like Weezer like they used to? They didn't sound like modern Weezer, they sounded like the good old Pinkerton/Rentals era Weezer, not new flat dull Weezer.

treetsux (May 9, 2003)

I'll admit the first time I heard Rock and Roll Part 3, I thought they were a Weezer clone. But a Weezer Clone they are not. The difference you ask? Ozma's sound CHANGES. Rivers blew it when it spent 5 years looking for the formula to the perfect song and then sticking with it for EVERY song thereafter. Ozma is much more original.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

this band was great with earlimart and slowreader. This album is really diversifying their sound. "Utsukushi Shibuya" is my vote for best song, and "Turtleneck Cover-up" and "restart" are really good too.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

They used a Casio CT-700 on this album. Not a moog to be found. It's okay scott, good review.

I really like the album. They play with a lot of different styles, but it sounds cohesive in the end. It could have gone horribly wrong.

-Tyler

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

If they get sick of being compared with Weezer, then they should ripping them the fuck off.

Anonymous (May 9, 2003)

Nicely said...I was afraid this was going to be a review where someone listened to 1 song and then wrote this album off as another Weezer clone. The band really has diversified with this album...I'm sure they got sick to death of being compared to Weezer.

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