Memento Beginnings

Memento’s debut CD, Beginnings, starts off as a standard alt-rock record. Vocalist Justin Stewart Cotta apathetically groans discouraging lyrics behind the standard bass, drums and guitar set up. But out of nowhere the disc shifts into a bigger, more important sound offering. "Below,” the sixth song on the disc, starts out with an infectious guitar riff that is more reminiscent of an acoustic Led Zeppelin record than its modern day, industry produced equivalent. Cotta, although still reserved, sounds like more of a person holding back evil emotions — almost ready to lose control. From that sixth song, Beginnings takes a much different spin. Orchestrations and piano add much needed texture without which the first few songs just seem vacuous. Vocal layers keep the sound clean yet lavish. Guitarist Space shines on "Blister,” adding grit to the otherwise beauty-bound song. Lyrically, Cotta is just figurative enough to plant imaginative seeds in the mind of the listener, without falling in the pit of nonsense. Influences are evident throughout the disc with Korn, Alice in Chains and Tool peppered in some tracks. Once you get past the opening tracks, Memento are a good musical ride. (Sony)