Now I know Otherwise are being touted as a “next big thing” in the States; I’ve read that “Soldiers” has been played at the graduation ceremonies of Army Engineers and that Fox News once called Otherwise the Number 1 unsigned band in America. Then again, being lauded by Fox News (who recently ripped apart the new Muppets movie for being too liberal) may not be a good thing – just sayin’.
Opening with the legend, “For the warriors who fight and die… so the rest of us may fight to Live” we’re shown shots of American citizens looking mean while Adrian Patrick sings about this being a perfect day to die; it’s like an episode of Star Trek and the Klingon commander has ordered an attack on the Enterprise, however, we’re not shown space battles, just two ambulance men and a fireman, presumably apt images for the lyric. Hold on, a dude in a pawn shop? A lady standing behind a bar, a guy working in a coffee shop, and a carpenter? Possibly dangerous, but hardly wiping blood out of our eyes, which Patrick is singing about at this point.
“Soldiers” is designed to be an anthem. It’s written to draw out the last chorus as a massive sing-along as a set closer. It’s about “Proud to be American” and “There’s a war going on, we’re all fighting it.” As far as I’m concerned it falls flat, even if the single was released on 9-11-11. The song brings back horrible memories of the Creed, Papa Roach, and Puddle of Mudd rock scene from the early aughts. Adrian Patrick has a great voice, the whole band are talented musicians, and some of their tunes are pretty decent: “Lighthouse” has a cool Eastern vibe and is stronger than “Soldiers,” but I’m not convinced on any level. I feel there’s a really good band in there dying to get out.
Researching this band I hit play on their MySpace player and let it go for an hour. I only stopped when I heard a woman’s vocal (was Avril Lavigne’s new track). I flipped back to the MySpace player and the last five bands I’d listened to were not Otherwise, but rather tunes by different artists.
This genre of hard rock made massive waves back in the early aughts, sort of 9.5 parts Nickelback, 0.5 part Slayer, a slightly heavier hard rock designed to appeal to the same target audience as the Transformers movie, i.e., the biggest, dumbest target audience possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if this song wound up on the next Transformers movie soundtrack, but I can’t see it doing well in any marketplace other than America.
Coming to a close we’re shown shots of a roller derby team who look tougher than the football players in the next shot, Ryan Patrick beats his chest singing “We stand shoulder to shoulder” and there’s this whole “we’re in this together” vibe, but in what? In low-paying jobs? In school? In a roller derby team about to kick ass? In the gym? What? As a UK outsider I feel alien to the concepts in this video and can only guess at the bigger meaning. The question is: Will the American public like this? Probably. From a UK perspective, is it any good? Hell no.