Before Belgium's Soulwax
released their slick and enchanting album Much Against Everyone's Advice
, they were cutting their teeth with their 1996 album Leave the Story Untold
. While lacking the electronic exploration and pithy sense of humor that would later serve them well, the album displays delicious melodies, thinking person's chord changes, and the desire to expand beyond the guitar-bass-and-drums paradigm. Tracks like "Caramel" ooze with post-grunge melodrama, while others like "Reruns" show that they were tight enough (and tough enough) to have passed as a credible metal band. Forgettable lyrics give way to a band skilled at constructing a pop record rather than just a string of singles. What ultimately holds the record together is the band's captured energy: frantic guitar solos (hot but just shy of Radiohead
wankiness) and a well-oiled rhythm section jump off the recording, leaving behind an aura of passion and pop music. Leave the Story Untold
is a solid and ambitious beginning for a band that, luckily for listeners, was just getting warmed up.