Once and future hitmakers

Timing is everything in the music industry, and bands live and die by it all the time.

Formed in 1996 and disbanded four years later, Oblivion Dust died by bad timing.

Fronted by a singer who could navigate both English and Japanese, Oblivion Dust wrote hook-ladened songs that never let up on the volume nor the distortion. Singer Ken Lloyd could carry a tune while throwing a few throat-crunching growls now and again.

As evidenced by the band’s final release, Radio Songs: Best of Oblivion Dust, Oblivion Dust’s hard, tuneful brand of metallic rock could have conquered the world — back in 1992.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins made it cool to profess allegiance to both metal and punk. Those influences weren’t lost on the young lads who eventually formed Oblivion Dust.

If Lloyd had a Clorox-drenched growl instead of a nasal whine, Oblivion Dust may not have been distinguishable from other bands that called Seattle home at the early part of the last decade.

Some of the tracks from the band’s first two albums — Looking for Elvis and Misery Days — don’t hide these influences.

“With You” sounds like a Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins outtake. “Sucker” and “Therapy” attempts to combine some Trent Reznor-like rhythms with big, power chords.

When the band released its third album Reborn, it finally found its own voice, and its songwriting consistently hit the proverbial nail on the head — something that continued with Butterfly Head, Oblivion Dust’s last album.

Radio Songs slants heavily toward these two albums, going so far as to include songs from Butterfly Head that were never released as singles and leaving off earlier work such as “Falling”, “Numb” and “Blurred”.

As such, the collection bucks tradition of most best collections released in Japan. Radio Song doesn’t just merely collect all the band’s many singles on one disc, it actually attempts to present what could be perceived as Oblivion Dust’s best work.

Fans may protest the inclusion of the very Cure-sounding “Lucky #10” or the slight hip-hop deviation of “No Regrets”. But as a whole, Radio Songs holds together incredibly well.

Oblivion Dust was a hit band that never was, and Radio Songs allows everyone who missed out to catch up.