Baxter - Baxter (Anthology) (Cover Artwork)


Baxter (Anthology) (2002)

Will Not Clear Man

Wow. Chicago has it made. Alkaline Trio, The Arrivals, The Honor System, Blue Meanies....great bands. And now (or then) .baxter. And this is a double CD!

If you kids have heard Rise Against (and who hasn't, we all love cheap Fat Wreck comps), then you have heard former .baxter. lead singer Tim. If you have heard The Lawrence Arms (again with the Fat comps), then you've heard former .baxter. drumer, and I believe guitarist at some point, Neil. Unfortunately for you Fat-heads, these guys sound nothing like their current Fat bands.

Disc 1 is their self-released album "Troy's Bucket" from 1997. And it sounds self-released. You can hear a band really trying, but without any real studio production, it falls flat. A band that relies on atmosphere as much as .baxter. needs, well, more money or a better producer. There are several standout songs, like "Zinc Oxide" and "Flacidity". They just don't come through as well as they could here.

Disc 2 is a little more convoluted. Tracks 1-6 were recorded in the summer of 1997, 7-12 were recorded in 1995, track 13 is live with no discernible date of recording and, finally, tracks 14 and 15 were recorded in November 1998.

Highlights of Disc 2 for me were #5 "Shrivel", which is like a bastard child or Refused and No Motiv, but in a good way, #10 "Failure" - it really shows the potential of this band from their early days in 1995, and #12 "I'm A Cop" - just a nice hardcore blast in amongst an atmospheric, At The Drive In-ish double CD.

Like most truly independent artists, .baxter. suffers from poor production throughout, but their stellar songwriting and (I hate to say it because I don't want them lumped in as an emo-band, unless it will help people buy this CD) emotional approach to their music really shines through. Fuck, I would have loved to see these guys live. Consider yourself lucky if you have. I give the band a 10 and the album an 8.