Les Walker is back with a new band, Common Knowledge. The former lead vocalist for Fullers Earth progressed to a more radio-friendly alternative rock sound to back his hope-fuelled songs.

Common Knowledge consists of Walker (vocals, rhythm guitar, lyrics), along with Clancy McInnis and Lane Currie (guitars). Rounding out the band is a powerhouse hard-rock rhythm section, Mike Settle (drums) and Adam Cripps (bass), better known as the C and S from CHS.

Together they make music that harkens back to the grunge era of the early ’90s. Bits of Nirvana and Pearl Jam can be heard throughout their debut CD Colour Blind. In particular, The Way You Look at Me reminds me a lot of Nirvana’s Polly.

While Walker’s vocals are limited (possibly less than an octave), they carry his lyrics, whether on a dance song like Get Up, or a power ballad like Weighing on You.

And those lyrics are good.

In Colour Blind, he gets philosophical: “The grass is always greener on the other side/The life we choose to live shouldn’t be so easy/Shouldn’t have to work so hard to complicate this/When you’re six feet underground the grass is all the same.”

Creator Song is a prayer for guidance: “Creator save me, because I’m out of control … I hold myself responsible for things I attract to my world.”

It’s also the only acoustic song on the CD, standing out from the heavier electric tunes. Walker’s emotions really shine on this one.

The band is tight. McInnis’ acoustic and Currie’s electric guitars drive the songs, and on Last New Year, they trade leads, with the acoustic taking the verse and the electric taking the chorus and final solo. It makes for a catchy song, one that deserves a lot of radio play.

While the band is great, and the songs are good individually, more variety would make this a stronger album. Another acoustic number like Creator Song or perhaps a second vocalist would give the band more range and make each song stand out.

That limitation aside, Common Knowledge is the perfect vehicle for Walker’s lyrics and emotion, as well as a great live band.

Outstanding Tracks: Colour Blind and Creator Song