Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

CD Review: The Jazz Funeral

This cd has absolutely nothing to do with jazz and isn’t exactly goth, although it’s relentlessly dark. This is a terrifically intelligent, auspicious debut for these lyrically-driven Staten Island retro rockers. It’s a mix of jangly, 60s inflected songs with smartly understated vocals and excellent, brooding lyrics that contrast with the songs’ catchy, upbeat, frequently country-inflected melodies.

 

The cd kicks off with Annie’s Kitchen Table, a fast country shuffle with a slightly Blonde on Blonde feel and a bitter, anguished lyric anticipating a breakup, “the summer months coming hard,” the narrator chainsmoking and anticipating the worst. There’s a nice, tastefully bluesy guitar solo that works perfectly with the tone of the song. The next track, Pulling Off the Wings is a haunting, oldtime-flavored backbeat country song with pizzicato mandolin, all tension that refuses to break, “Clocks don’t stop and cars refuse to crash…it’s so plain to see I’ve been so unwell.” The sarcastic, angry Entry-Level Blues starts out fast and bouncy like the Kinks or the early Move but quickly builds to more of a country feel; Jolene, of the South Shore, a rueful ballad slinks along on a beautifully tense melody, chords shifting from major to minor with elegant restraint. The best song on the ep is its closing cut, Goodnight (Is How I Say Goodbye), begining ominous with layers of oldtimey blues guitar, suddenly jumping to a raging, staccato Weimar blues melody and then exploding into fiery janglerock:

 

If the ghost of Robert Moses came to talk to me

Would you demolish every brownstone in Bay Ridge

All the ghosts you see are real…

Walk toward the light but be prepared to say goodnight

 

Best thing about this cd is it’s free, download it here. Fans of the A-list of tuneful, intense lyrical rockers: Elvis Costello, Aimee Mann, LJ Murphy, Matt Keating, Ward White and the rest will devour this. A great ipod album, it screams out for headphones. The Jazz Funeral play Bowery Poetry Club on Feb 14 and then Feb 18 at Ace of Clubs.

February 2, 2009 - Posted by | Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , ,

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