‘Beat the Meter’ shows talent and versatility

Sean Rojas, Delaware Beachcomber, Rehoboth Beach, Del., June 28, 1985

Bad Sneakers’ last album, “Beat the Meter,” is a decent effort for a local band. These Newarkians have an upbeat album that makes use of all the latest musical equipment.

The band consists of Dale Dallabrida, Shane Faber, Marc Moss and Neal Tillotson. They all do lead vocals on one song or another, and the different nuances of each voice are picked for the right song. Some songs are a little too commercial for my taste, but there are a couple of superior ones that really showcase the band’s talent.

“Blue Light” on Side 1 is an ethereal tune that is easy to imagine coming from a jukebox in a 21st century bar on the moon. It starts with an electronic beat that is infectious. The song is about a town in apocalypse, swathed by the blue lights of police trying to stop the action.

“‘Blue Light’ … is easy to imagine coming from a jukebox in a 21st century bar on the moon.” Sean Rojas, Delaware Beachcomber

The narrative style of the vocals makes the song what it is, with lyrics like, “It’s down to you and me and half a million crazies. We get to sit and watch a city go to blazes,” and “I understand they started looting on the West Side. They got the fire going brighter than the daylight.” The guitar playing in the middle is a great enhancer of the setting, as are the synthesizers. The way the song ends in a police-radio dialog leaves an eerie feeling of anarchy.

The anti-nuke song “Ground Zero” is a paranoid look at nuclear holocaust. Lyrics like “They got the nuclear tower, they put it right over there. They got the nuclear power, that’s why I’m losing my hair,” and later, “Here come political trouble, here come the God-awful worst. You want to live in a bubble, you get to watch it all burst,” give the feeling of impending doom. But the song is not an anti-nuclear harangue, it is more a wish that when the bomb drops, they will be able to live in the shelter without any interference. The music is a good vehicle for the song; it moves with clarity and style, with good use of rests to enhance the chorus and verse entries.

Side 2 also has some fine music on it. The show song “Anesthesia” is a light ditty that carries the energy of a live performance without being overly commercial. The guitar solo is quality without going too long; it does the job of showing the band’s talent, yet it is not a narcissistic blast of fluff. The verse of The Rascals’ “Good Lovin'” that is thrown into the middle of the tune adds color and humor to a good concert number.

The last cut is also a nice colorful song, another version of the first song on Side 2, “Invisible Man.” The difference lies in the music. In the first version, it is an electronic pop tune that lilts through the stereo. “Invisible Man II” is a capella. It sounds like it was recorded with good equipment in a diner in the city. This version is a nice way to end an album, a demonstration of the band’s vocal capabilities. It has good vocals with a great beat that makes one feel a little better about the day.

The album as a whole has a little of everything, a capella, pop, and good music. It’s on Now and Then Records and is written/arranged/performed/produced by Bad Sneakers. This is a record that won’t be a classic, but it’s worth adding to a record collection.

Win Goodrich
Delaware Beachcomber

The Newark band Bad Sneakers has a new release out called Beat the Meter. This is the second release for the well-known area group. I give them a lot of credit. The album is good and has a lot of professional overtones. The album is simple in nature but with very little break in its continuity. Ground Zero, Caught in the Act and Miserable Man are a few of the cuts which you may recognize.

The album was put out by Now and Then Records of Newark. For a refreshing taste of music, pick up a copy of Bad Sneakers’ Beat the Meter. Also, if you need more information on the band and their whereabouts call: 302-368-5108.

The band is becoming known nationwide. Don’t be surprised when these guys hit big time. They will be in the beach area before the end of the summer. Don’t miss them, they put on a great show.

“Beat the Meter” jacket