Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Two For Wednesday: UPDATE
The minute I found out that Richard Thompson was recording a record in Nashville with Buddy Miller I plotzed. I certainly did not see that coming and I could not wait for it to drop. Well, it did. Yesterday. I don't love it. Not yet, anyway. Not after my first half-assed pass last week courtesy of NPR and not after two more serious passes. I do like it very much, though, and I expect my feelings will grow the more time I spend with it. At the moment, I only like it as a friend.
My one and only issue with "Electric" is the same issue I usually have with a Richard Thompson record. The songs tend to resemble not only each other, but other RT songs. It's as if Thompson writes with a template. There's the ballad, the blues, the pop single, the Celtic epic. It's a strange complaint, I know. I prefer RT's music to sound like RT and not say...Shakira., and you can be sure I'd bitch if Thompson released something radical like a funk record or his last release, the bizarre "Cabaret Of Souls." But the way Thompson's guitar playing never ceases to surprise, move and amaze me, and boy does it ever on just about every song on "Electric," I'd like to feel that occasionally with the songs themselves. Right now, that is not happening.
Still, the marriage of Buddy Miller and Richard Thompson is a success. The sound of "Electric" is thick but not busy and really, my quibbling is minor. This is a fine record that I expect to find finer in days to come.
I've just completed another two passes through "Electric." Two very solid passes, with few distractions.
This record has some clinkers and they are all top-loaded. The guitar playing saves what, for me, would have been 5 pretty hokey songs to open an album. I actually find "Stoney Ground," Salford Sunday," and "Stuck On A Treadmill" unpleasant. It's hard to explain, but the first thing that comes to mind...and forgive the weird analogy...is mayonaisse on pizza. Something is not working. Chord changes, riffs, guitar flourishes and clumsy lyrics that don't seem to go well together. And yet, as I said, I can't turn these songs off because I know what's coming via RT"s guitar.
Just like "Dream Attic," the record doesn't begin for me until Track 6. If someone had never heard a note of RT's music and was first introduced to his music with "The Money Shuffle" and "Among The Gorse, Among The Grey," the two songs that open "Dream Attic," I wouldn't blame them for never returning. This is what I'm feeling with the opening 5 of "Electric." But then, it all falls together beautifully.
Frank Bango has been quietly releasing some truly fine pop records for awhile now. He started work on "Touchy/Feely" back in 2008, but only got around to finishing it this year, after dealing with some serious health problems. Friend and BW supporter Stivseed made a very subtle suggestion in the comments section last week about this record. I'm not sure how many of you saw it and decided to give it a whirl, but I implore you to do so now.
"Touchy/Feely" is a collection of hooks and harmonies that will make all of you power pop lovers swoon.
Please, listen for yourself, and then do the right thing and show Frank some love and purchase a copy.
This record is HUGE!