Fast (ARTISTdirect)

When all is said and done, there is nothing new under the sun, and what sells in rock and roll is the same old threesome: sex, swearing, and shock value. Custom uses a liberal dose of all three S-words on his debut, which may be why the first single is doing so damn well. "Hey Mister" is a dirty little ditty in which the singer tells a man in excruciating detail just how he (the singer) likes to (radio edit) said man's daughter, and it's been a smash success on alternative radio.

But "Hey Mister" is deceptive: Despite its ultra-blue content, it's not musically groundbreaking or even sexy. Custom himself is just the latest in a long line of callow young white guys singing sincere songs about their immensely shallow lives -- a genre that's currently inhabited by acts like Kid Rock, Sugar Ray, and Blink-182.

Happily, Custom's music is a wealth of imagination compared to Blink, using a pastiche of sounds, samples, and those whooshing guitars that somehow always sound English to American ears. Lyrically, his record stars the antics of a suburban young man whose inner world is made up of girls, skateboarding, and cliché existential angst. On the album's centerpiece, the lengthy "Morning Spank," Custom narrates a typical teen melodrama: "A friend doesn't bang another friend's girlfriend/Dude, but dude, I don't know what to say . . . I'm a fucking idiot."

It's hard to disagree.

More by Gina Arnold


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