Steriogram Schmack!

Differentiation. An important strategy in business as it allows your product to be part of a saturated market, yet also grab a good piece of the economic pie. How does the company grab that elusive teen market? How does the band differentiate itself enough to be heard? Ah, yes, the gimmick. In terms of New Zealand’s Steriogram, their strategy seems to be rap, although that term can be used rather lightly. Whether it is innocuously in the background, or dominating the song, one Mr. Tyson Kennedy is always there, "rapping” Kazzer-style, albeit with a higher, more nasal voice. Strike one, as it grates after the third song or so, unless you love rhymes about partying and how security guards and small towns suck. The music accompanying Mr. Kennedy has some redeeming spots, thanks to some rousing choruses in "Go,” "Wind It Up” and "On and On,” but mostly it is of the strictest Nickel-rock variety. Really, the energy of the band is probably the most remarkable thing here, as both "Walkie Talkie Man” and "White Trash” are undeniably pop punk-y and catchy while showcasing their youth, but tire after repeated listens. Recommended as a gift for your rap/rock-loving niece or nephew, but otherwise simply taking the "a” out of the album title and inserting another appropriate vowel, "u,” would have been a more apt review. (Capitol)