Ed Hale and the Transcendence aren't above taking a different turn. On their brand new album, ominously titled The Great Mistake, they abandon the turbulent, over-clouded melodies that have imbued their signature sound, and opt instead for a rowdy, raucous, irreverent rock 'n' roll delivery. Hints of their psychedelic style still linger, especially on songs such "I Remember You" and "She Gets Me Higher." But by and large, Hale is opting for more earthbound circumstance rather than the lofty musings that populated his last solo album, Ballad on Third Avenue, or the turbulent and tumultuous circumstance that characterized the previous band effort, All Your Heroes Become Villains.
Credit Hale's co-conspirators -- mainly Fernando Perdomo and Roger Houdaille -- with helping to instigate these changes and carrying them off with such perfect aplomb.
In fact, it's little wonder they're capable of aiding in this stylistic shift -- both men are accredited rock 'n' roll practitioners in their own right, Perdomo with his remarkable '70s sounding retro band Dreaming In Stereo, and Houdaille, at the helm of Ex Norwegian. Both are fine purveyors of boisterous power pop. Together with Hale, they've made Transcendence a veritable South Florida supergroup, although, truth be told, Hale spends most of his time in New York and Washington state. Still, being that he's a respected expatriate, we'll consider his hometown status legit enough to deem this a locally bred power trio.
Here's hoping that Transcendence get their due, specifically in terms of national recognition. The band has already made some inroads, thanks to its steady presence on the CMJ charts and favored airplay on college radio across the nation. Likewise, Perdomo and Houdaille have had their respective honors as well, the result of years of persistence and consistent perfection.
Yet, for all their musical precision and instrumental savvy, none of these bands have achieved their big breakthrough, reached household name status, or been fully embraced by the tastemakers that proclaim the latest indie icons. Never mind the fact that they've never broached any semblance of mainstream popularity; don't hold your breath if you expect to find their albums in your neighborhood Best Buy or Target store.
So what's wrong? It's not that South Florida has ever lacked the ability to send our farm teams to the big leagues. Witness the past success of bands like the Mavericks, Marilyn Manson, the Miami Sound Machine, KC and the Sunshine Band, Betty Wright, Jon Secada, Pitbull, and others members of the graduating classes of the '70s, '80s, '90s and today.
Never mind the fact that South Florida once boasted a thriving recording scene epitomized by the activity taking place at Criteria and Bayshore studios. Not only were we exporting talent to the national charts, but we were also attracting them here to plot their trajectories as well.
Perhaps the tag "made in South Florida" doesn't carry the cache it once had. Maybe our environs are so identified with Latin music, that anything resembling power pop or rock 'n' roll doesn't seem in sync with the public's perceptions. Whatever the reason -- and despite our credence -- the star-makers simply refuse to take us seriously.
One listen to The Great Mistake verifies the fact that the error is theirs alone.