Your crusty chronicler is an individual who does his own thing. Still, when Examiner asked for support for their then new “List” format, it was nigh impossible not to be open-minded about it. So, with that spirit of unity in mind, your rockin’ reviewer presents this series—“Track by Track” in which we review certain select CDs literally “track by track”.
In this edition of the series we (ahem) examine John Tabacco and Peter Kearns’. . . And Now For Our Next Cucumber! (EP) on f/x Records. But first, for our new readers out there, John Tabacco and Peter Kearns are two multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriters who have once more joined forces to create something new and refreshing. (Hardcore readers may recall mention of their earlier collaboration on the song “The End Of The Beginning” from Tabacco’s Audio Artifacts for the Dubious CLOUD.)
This new disc is a six song collection born of “about 11 ideas for songs” that Tabacco presented Kearns with at the start of the year. The EP includes “six of them”. Looking back on their tuneful team-up Tabacco states: “I never thought I’d be collaborating with someone who lives 10,000 miles away with such ease. This certainly is the age of miracles and wonder.”
(View the list to learn about the new songs.)
The EP-opener, “Free Man”, works well enough to introduce us to the pair’s presentation and yet it barely scratches the service in terms of defining the duo’s capabilities. Here Tabacco provides lead vocals and acoustic guitar while Kearns contributes keys and backing vocals on this the first of their new co-compositions.
The second song is “Lemon Whirl”. This time the crooning co-composers came up with something that somehow has a naughty Brit twist to it much like some songs by The Beatles although it might not quite be a “Savoy Truffle”. Here Kearns takes over as lead vocalist and guitarist. Tabacco takes a backseat providing percussion. The song also includes a welcome appearance by sexy songstress Susan DeVita on backing vocals to flesh out this tasty tune.
“Shady’s Tinted Kylix”
The all too brief but entertaining track “Shady’s Tinted Kylix” follows here. With a running time of less than 2 minutes, just when you begin to think you understand the piece it’s over. Here Tabacco sings lead vocals, plays guitar and provides percussive knee-slapping. Kearns provides bass, whistling and backing vocals.
“The Drive In’s On Fire”
The next number is the humorous “The Drive In’s On Fire”. This one is perfect for college radio and is trademark Tabacco. The piece is perhaps Zappa-influenced and reminiscent of 1950s music. Tabacco sings lead and takes up his guitar again while Kearns fleshes out the sound on piano, bass and backing vocals.
“Your Effervescent Presence”
Perhaps the best song, however, in terms of commerciality is the cut “Your Effervescent Presence”. This is a pleasant piece in praise of someone special. Kearns handles vocals, guitar and bass while Tabacco makes the mix just right. As is the case on previous pieces, the pair shares programming responsibilities here.
The album’s closing cut is the “Release Me”. This one takes a positive approach in dealing with issues such as isolationism. It includes a minimalistic Baptist choir-like “River of Dreams” presence provided in part thanks to Susan DeVita who encores on back-up vocals (and “musical suggestions”). Kearns once more handles lead vocals, guitar and bass while Tabacco fills it out with his drums and backing vocals.
It’s always entertaining and interesting to see what happens when Tabacco mixes it up with other musicians. This release is no exception. While his signature sound always shines through it is also obvious how partnerships influence Tabacco. Kearns brings out some new artistic aspects in him and in truth the tune-filled team-up no doubt has an influence on Kearns as well. So dudes and dudettes, go online and check out John Tabacco and Peter Kearns’. . . And Now For Our Next Cucumber! (EP) but don’t forget your credit card because the disc isn’t “Free Man”.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.