"Designer Gene Pool" (Album, 2004)
Smashed Up Music
The label name provides some indication of what to expect from this album. I last heard Altered States back in 2000. They've refined their punk/rock influenced sound since then but now just as then, Yig Hughes' voice remains the strongest asset. I can definetly hear a Jam era Paul Weller in there and given his natural talent, I'm surprised the vocals are not more upfront in the mix.
The conventional guitar, bass, drums, rhythm guitar and keyboards form the basis of Altered States' sound and although a set-up that's never inspired me very much they do apply the tools of their trade quite effectively. A middling cover of Eleanor Rigby simultaneously shows the extent of their influences and that they're not afraid to put themselves out there for criticism.
Given my general indifference to rock as genre I didn't expect to get much out of Designer Gene Pool, but even I can see that Altered States have managed to capture something in their songwriting. Whether or not it's unique enough to enable them to stand out from the vastly overpopulated field that is rock remains to be seen. 6/10
Rob Dyer (February 2006)