By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
"Three Car Garage: The Indie Recordings"
After one year on the international scene, Hanson somehow has seen fit to look back at its roots. It's an extraordinarily premature move that smacks of market milking, but then again, they might be playing the fleeting game of pop smarter than anyone.
It also airs what now could be viewed as pre-fame ruminitions on Hansonmania in the media, like the chorus of “Stories'' (“Stories will be told until we're old / Stories will be told until the end of time'') or a line from “River'': “Lately we've been talking 'bout who we are / Seems we don't know anymore.''
This collection of songs from the boys' two Tulsa indie records is interesting if only to get a glimpse of the band from the perspective of another singer. It's Isaac singing lead on most of the 11 tracks here — and doing a surprisingly formidable job. Hearing his bold vocals on “Pictures'' and the exquisite ballad “Surely as the Sun,'' as well as his green-but-growing guitar work throughout, you can't help but wonder how the band would have fared had business types not put the more soulful (and, sure, more fetching) Taylor out front. It could have been a wholly different, grittier guitar band.
But even though the 11-year-old Taylor sounds like a mosquito here, his immense talent is already evident. He takes the entire lyric of “Stories'' and makes it come from him, not through him, adapting every turn of phrase and every breath to his inate control. His voice may not be deep, but his soul is an ocean.
Two songs from “Middle of Nowhere'' (“Thinking of You,'' “With You in Your Dreams'') are here in unpolished freshness, but a nascent version of the signature “MMMBop'' is a five-minute drag. Overall, it's a remarkably unaffected batch of pop songs that brims with a bright-eyed innocence the radio hasn't seen in two decades. Play on, boys.
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.