Tommy Swerdlow wrote the script for the John Candy comedy Cool Runnings years ago. So why is he now with his wife issuing an album? Well, because he can that’s why. That doesn’t make it good though! Part Neil Young and part Roger Daltrey in terms of his vocals, songs like the title track plod along quite nicely as his wife Karen Swerdlow lends harmonies. Unfortunately, this powerful opener gives way to a moody “Our Name Is Strange” that could be found on any bad psychedelic movie soundtrack—disjointed, gear-changing and not very good. “Template #4” falls between the first two songs in terms of quality. It’s a hi-hat-tinged tune with moody, theatrical Meat Loaf-meets-Pulp moments throughout as Tommy sings like Julian Casablancas at times. Sad Girl treads on this dour feeling with “Sorry” which is, well, a pretty sorry song. “Broken Stuff” is basically a poor man’s Jon Spencer Blues Explosion without much direction while “Bethelem” sounds like Tom Waits, but even that’s a real stretch. The biggest knock the album has is that nothing stands out, the lone possible exception being the decent “Really Tired” and the merely passable “Today Again”.
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// Notes from the Road
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