Kelly Pardekooper: Brand New Bag

[1 March 2007]

By Jason MacNeil

Recorded on two-inch analog tape and assisted by members from groups backing Jo De Messina, John Doe and Junior Brown, Iowan Kelly Pardekooper sounds as if he’s channeling The Dandy Warhols on the retro-rock, groovy title track that sets the album off on the right course. But it’s just a teaser as he settles down for the slow and roots based “Crazy Girl”, where Pardekooper shuffles along as if he was covering Mark Knopfler. Fans of Todd Snider will revel in a number like “Last Call”, which is a rather sparse but comforting affair that sounds as if the artist recorded it while someone was mopping the barroom floor before closing. The album chugs along nicely with the precious but near-perfect “Mehaffey Bridge”, the equally gorgeous “Quiet Tonight”, and the haunting, mysterious “Sometimes”. What makes the album so consistently good is Pardekooper’s ability to show different sides of his craft without diminishing the song’s quality or shortchanging himself. The icing on the cake though has to be the stellar “Grandma’s Rosary” with its Springsteen quality.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/kelly-pardekooper-brand-new-bag/