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Under Museum Quality Glass - Click to view!Somber, expressionless faces. Long hair. Larger than average belt buckles. Washed-out jeans with holes ripped in the knees. A black-and-white filtered photo. Everything you'd expect on the album cover of an up-and-coming grunge rock band. Apparently, Pivitplex has mastered the art of deception, for their melodies are tame, their vocals are soft, and their lyrics are quite harmless. While the above statement would normally kill a rock band, Under Museum Quality Glass manages to keep Pivitplex in the safe zone by a slim margin. It's too bad that most of the items in the exhibit are already broken.

They give off a tough vibe, but for the most part Pivitplex is rather quirky — in the Daily Planet sense of the word. Several of the tracks on Under Museum Quality Glass feature funky arrangements to springy, light beats. "Grounded" is a classic example: Fun chord progressions and laid-back melodies accompany sing-song, mediocre lyrics about Christ's triumphal second coming on the clouds. While relatively energetic, "Grounded" suffers from Daily Planet-like symptoms as the band tries to play it cool by shouting out random lines in-between verses. Thankfully, other light-hearted tracks such as "Clarity" and "Rosetta Stone" keep the weirdness to a minimum, feature fine instrumentation on the band's part, and have decent harmonies. Lyrical depth remains a problem, however. Even on the more rock-fronted tracks like "You Know" and "Overshaken," the band never dwells below the surface of their searching - they merely confront the problem, briefly highlight an obvious "cure", and move on. Later cuts, including "You and Me" and "Nothing Without You" are so trite and uninspiring that they're easily forgettable. Corny would be the best word to describe "Lullaby," with its bland, seemingly forced reminder: "Pray that the Lord will work in your life / and for your pastor and his wife / and for the owner of the corner store / and for the neighbor knocking on your door."

That isn't to say Pivitplex is totally devoid of artistry. A few satisfactory tunes make it onto the album, including "Feeling Fear," a brilliantly penned requiem about how the Lord can use even the least of us, though at first we may disagree with the direction He's taking us. In spite of its repetitive chorus, "Feeling Fear" is an excellent track to reflect on during a quiet time and is the perfect listen for anyone feeling uncertainty in his or her Christian walk. Moreover, "Rosetta Stone" is catchy at the least, although it conjures up horrible memories of Daily Planet's "Five." Rough, edgy guitars and a hammering drum performance save "You Know" from borderline mediocrity, and "Cash It In" benefits from the ZZTop-ish vibe it radiates, as well as strong lyrical content: "One flame, burning down / one cry that made no sound / if I had known how far you'd go then I would have run to find you / and hold you / and pull you from the flames." Although each of the aforementioned songs have their strong points, there is one major factor that drags down all of them: Scott Brownson's vocal performance. Sadly, Brownson's voice just isn't strong enough to carry most of these tracks, and it lacks that extra "oomph" needed to make the heavier cuts stand out. Furthermore, his vocal range stays nearly the same throughout the album; we are never given a chance to hear him stretch, leaving us with an empty, monotone listening experience. Perhaps with a different lead vocalist, Pivitplex could go places.

It's not quite abysmal, but with its few quirky false starts, shallow penmanship, and lack of vocal talent, Under Museum Quality Glass paints a picture that doesn't belong in any museum. At the most, it will draw a few nods from passersby on their way to view higher quality exhibits. As evidenced with the abundance of Creed clones taking over the radio, grunge isn't the way to go, but neither is the way this band is heading. Pivitplex would be wise to take a bucket of paint thinner to their canvas and start completely over.
- Rick Foux
April 2004
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