"I've been gargling with Drano," Dennis explains about his vocal tone on Ten Foot Pole's 2004 album, Subliminable Messages. Maybe he's not joking - the polite 14-year-old sounding voice of the Unleashed era has matured to new levels of grit and depth, leaving listeners with a mental image of a singer's forehead veins bulging.
Five albums in twice as many years, over 1,000 shows played around the globe, but as far as Ten Foot Pole is concerned, this is just the beginning. Revitalized by Dennis' newfound vocal intensity and the fresh talent of newcomers Mike Levy (bass) and Eric Cody (lead guitar), the band has never been more energized. Subliminable Messages is the perfect document of this rebirth: the traditions of relentless drums, jerky guitars, and up-tempo tunes get respectful nods, but the new recording is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts and history. As Dennis dryly puts it, "We try to learn at least one new chord on every album. This time it's B sharp."
Asked about the meaning of the title, Dennis says "George W. coined the phrase in response to accusations that his election ads used subliminal techniques. I interpret it as a melding of subliminal and abominable, a combination appropriate for today's political climate." No doubt the band also got a chuckle envisioning kids playing the tracks backwards looking for hidden phrases - which they CLAIM do not exist.
Have you ever heard an album where every song sounds the same? No need to worry about that here. Each tune on Subliminable Messages has a distinct personality. Some songs are among TFP's heaviest, while others continue the band's history of understated humor. Whether the lyrics examine the struggle to be politically effective - "Wake Up (and smell the fascism) - the perils of a diabolical girlfriend - "Last Call for Russell's Balls" - or the stigma of childhood labels - "Kicked Out of Kindergarten" - the band never loses sight of their trademark urgency and sincerity.