While it would be easy to dismiss the Special Goodness as a second-rate version of Weezer, doing so would be incredibly unfair. A careful listen to "Land, Air, Sea" finds Pat Wilson -- best known as the guy who keeps the beat for Rivers Cuomo -- doing a fine job handling the guitar, vocal and songwriting duties. With current Offspring member Atom Willard (Weezer's one-time drum tech and a former member of Rocket From The Crypt) working the kit, TSG's first domestic offering has now been re-sequenced and re-released through Epitaph after first surfacing last March through Wilson's NOS imprint.
The improvements are subtle, but wise. For instance, "You Know I'd Like..." has been shifted to the start of the album, altering the feel of the dozen-song set. The somber, mid-tempo rocker is astoundingly good, slaying any bias that it's just Pat from Weezer messing around. The tune is easily as powerful and melodic as any in his primary band's post-comeback songbook, fusing elements of both Oasis and Pavement. The latter is no doubt most prevalent in Wilson's Stephen Malkmus-influenced vocal delivery.
"Life Goes By" is an infectious riff-a-thon that could be mistaken for a single-worthy, hook-laden Foo Fighters track, complete with Willard's ferocious drumming. If that number's conquering, optimistic lyrical approach is pretty basic, "Day in the Autumn," a melodic nod to the first cold breezes of late September, also seems a little light on prose, but triumphs in its appeal.
As the disc plays out, Wilson's tunes ("Inside Your Heart," "Pay No Mind") are consistently solid, with the expletive-burdened, "Daydream Nation"-derived charge of "N.F.A" speaking to his tenacity. With "Land, Air, Sea," the drummer finally has a solo project for people to grab hold of. But more importantly, the Special Goodness' has crafted a dozen punk and pop-influenced songs that the modern rock hoi polloi will have a hard time leaving alone. Congrats, Pat.
-John D. Luerssen