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2003-08-15 - Big Fear Review - Washington Post
COMMON ROTATION "The Big Fear"Independent

Taking a sizable bite out of the pop-rock audience shouldn't be a problem for Common Rotation, and not just because the quartet features singer Adam Busch, better known for playing sinister Warren on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." While Busch's ties to the late and much-lamented series give the band a kind of cultish cachet, Common Rotation shouldn't have to rely on the kindness of "Buffy" fans to win over concert crowds. At least not as long as they are wedding punchy rhythms to clever lyrics -- or, in other words, as long as they are focusing on tracks from their new release, "The Big Fear."

Busch shares lead vocals with singer-songwriter Eric Kufs. Along with bassist Mike Uhler and drummer Ken Beck, the pair often evokes their pop-rock influences with disarming lightheartedness and craft, whether recalling the tricky syncopations and wordplay favored by the Barenaked Ladies on the reggae-flavored "Sit Down" or serving up They Might Be Giants' "Don't Let's Start" with a twist of fiddle and twang. The lyrics to "Prime Time," one of the album's rhythmically churning charmers, may give Buffyphiles pause ("A little self-deception / It gets the best reception / When you can't stomach the prime time"), but make no mistake: Common Rotation is clearly more interested in being pro-fun than profound. Despite the occasional ponderous lapse, "Big Fear" succeeds on that score, big time.

-- Mike Joyce


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