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Hammerbox , 6/10
Numb , 7.5/10
Goodness: Goodness , 5/10
Goodness: Anthem , 5/10
Goodness: These Days , 5/10
Carrie Akre: Home , 5/10
Rockfords: 2000 , 5/10

Dopo il singolo Kept House (Big Flaming Ego) gli Hammerbox si presentano con il mini-album Hammerbox (C/Z, 1991), i cui brani (When 3 Is 2, Ask Why) sono camaleontiche esibizioni di punk, country, blues, funk, che raramente decidono di affrontare un solo stile alla volta (la jazzata Under The Moon e` la miglior eccezione). Harris Thurmond (proveniente da Portland, dove suonava funk-rock con i Rubberhead), chitarrista capace di imitare il jazz/metal di Vernon Reid come di far rumore alla Thurston Moore, e Carrier Akre, timbro da Pat Benatar delle campagne, non riescono a far coagulare le loro qualita` in un "sound", in un'identita` ben precisa. If English is your first language and you could translate my old Italian text, please contact me.
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The band matured with Numb (A&M, 1993), a far punchier and rowdier affair, with the singer in splendid form. Numbers like Hole and Attack Of The Slime Creatures coast at the border between Fetchin Bones' visceral roots-rock, Gits' cowpunk and Pearl Jam's grunge. What distinguished them from the myriad grunge imitators was, in a word, passion. Every guitar riff is a volcanic eruption, every word is an agonizing call of the wild.
No opens at thrash pace and noise, but soon Carrie Akre takes (emotional) control with her roaring voice and the music almost cools down, as if in awe of her madness. Carrie Akre is an epileptic Melissa Etheridge, bordering on possessed in Blur. The interplay between her and the guitar is a subtle psychological exercise. When 3 is 2 is a Lynyrd Skynyrd boogie kept at bay by Akre's hoarse, evil growl and then pierced by an explosive riff.
The band truly shines in the seismic energy of the thrashing cowpunk-rocker Simple Passing that also boasts the catchiest refrain. With the same power and imagination the band launches on burning, pounding, electrifying romps like Anywhere but Here, propelled by homicidal drumming, hammering guitar riffs and terrifying solos.
Their tumultous sound was less trivial and more forceful than most of grunge, but had little to commend itself in an age replete with dejavu riffs.

Carrie Akre formed Goodness in the summer of 1994 with four veterans of the Seattle scene: guitarists Danny Newcomb (ex-Shadow, ex-Cheap Ones) and Garth Reeves (ex-Nubbin, Evening Special), and drummer Chris Friel (ex-Shadow, Give, El Steiner), and bassist Fiia McGann (ex-Animal Kingdom, Miracle Baby).

Goodness (Y, 1995 - Atlantic, 1996) is a lame commercial sellout that relies on the bouncy, catchy Labor Day and For Lovers' Sake, and wastes the singer's skills in pathetic ballads like Between You & I and Viva Le High and bluesy numbers like Superwise and Smoking. The band is really Newcomb and Reeves's show. Their obnoxious power chords and guitar solos try to sell the album to the grunge crowd.

Deanna Knudsen writes:

I take exception with your comments about Goodness' debut record being a "sell out". It was one of the finest indie releases Seattle ever produced. They were so far from "grunge" or whatever was deemed to be mainstream at the time. I have so much respect for those individuals, because they did NOT cater to what the market demanded, which is the polar opposite of "sell out". If they had "sold out", they wouldn't all be forced to work day jobs now, although they continue to make amazing music together and apart.

Anthem (Epic, 1998) featured a couple more catchy tunes (Turn the World Around and Lost) but the standout was Anthem.
These Days (Good Ink, 1999) collects leftovers and the last recordings of the band.

Most of Goodness (Carrie Akre, Chris Friel, Danny Newcomb) joined Pearl Jam's guitarist Mike McCready to record as Rockfords the album 2000 (Epic, 1999). This was really a reunion because the four men used to play (twenty years before) in Warrior. In 1982 the Warrior, augmented with singer Rob Webber, became Shadow, that played until McCready went on to form Pearl Jam. Carrie Akre's vocals steal the show, though (Adelaide, This Life, Flashes). Rockfords' power-pop (Coat of Arms, Riverwide with Nancy Wilson of Heart) does not improve over Goodness' trivial grunge-pop.

Goodness guitarist Garth Reeves and drummer Chris Friel formed Blue Spark, that released the seven-song Transmitter (Good Ink, 2000), an album of energetic country-rock (arranged with mandolin, keyboards, steel guitar) that does best with the rocking Better Me and Parks of Olympia

Carrie Akre co-wrote House at the End of the World with Smithereens's Al DiNizio on God Save the Smithereens and then formed the VIPs with DiNizio. She then released her first solo, Home (Good Ink, 2000), heavily arranged with loops, strings and electronic keyboards.

Hammerbox's bassist James Atkins died in 2016.

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