CD REVIEWS: Beck, Peter Wolf, Keep Yourself Good Company
Beck and Peter Wolf team up to kick KYGC's ass
Rundown: Peter Wolf is probably best known as the lead singer of the J. Geils Band of "Freeze Frame" fame. But in Sleepless, this native New Yorker explores the full range of his musical influences, from down-home country and contemplative folk ballads to full-throttle electric blues. He is supported by an accomplished group of musicians, including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Key Tracks: Wolf was caught improvising on the bluesy "Homework," which was never intended to be more than an instrumental warm-up. Superb piano playing and an impeccable rhythm section keep the tongue-in-cheek track "Too Close Together" barreling right along. The album meanders to a close with "Sleepless," a mellow, gospel-tinged tribute to the restlessness of the artistic soul.
Sounds Like: If you're a fan of The Rolling Stones' "Stripped," you'll want to give Peter Wolf a listen, although his vocal style owes more to J.J. Cale than to Mick Jagger. The album's live acoustic feel and range of musical styles is a refreshing change.
Rundown: The biggest "Loser" on the planet reflects on how much of a loser he really is on his seventh album, Sea Change. Though Beck is probably best known for his wild cut-and-paste collage albums, this is a downcast affair; jamtastic tracks like "Mixed Bizness" are out and dusty acoustic instruments are in.
Key Tracks: The 12 songs on Sea Change are littered with trampled hearts and puddles of tears. Opening track "The Golden Age" finds our dejected hero in the perfect drive-away-from-your-problems song. Many of Beck's latest have some lovely string-action going on, like the all-cried-out lament "Lonesome Tears." There's also the Eastern-tinged "Sunday Sun," which adds a little flavour to the record.
Sounds Like: This album is most akin to Mutations in the Beck catalogue. Heartbreak might sound depressing, but Sea Change is beautifully dreary and a mesmerizing place to tread before the tide turns.
Keep Yourself Good Company
Procedures for Underground
Dark Skippy Records
Rundown: Plodding, unimaginative, horrible these are only a few words that will come to mind when you pop in Keep Yourself Good Company's new disc, Procedures for Underground. The band's first stupid move was changing their name from Juniper to KYGC (what were they thinking?); the second was pretending to have talent.
Key Tracks: The opening caterwauls of "Slogan for Hypocrites" sets the tone for the whining to come. By the time the third track "The Dashboard Rules" rolls around, you'll feel as though you've been listening to the CD forever. KYGC attempts to pep things up a bit in "Don't Forget," but the torturous lyrics bring it right back down to the depths of lameness.
Sounds Like: Utter crap. Think of someone who attempts to sing like Thom Yorke (Radiohead), but has about as much depth and range as Jay Gordon (Orgy) pretty scary, isn't it? Don't be surprised if you find yourself actively wincing as you listen to the band publicly embarrass themselves. The best part of the CD is when Track 12 comes to a close, allowing you to return the disc to its rightful place: propping up the short leg of your couch.
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