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Golden Age Of Radio ...
Posted by Play.com Reviewer, 11/10/2007 14:09:09
Mark Pickerel's 'debut' solo effort, Snake in the Radio, is a collection of compelling songs that are ... a little sinister.
His kind of 'Americana' is filled with old country influences, elements of blues, rockabilly and 'golden age radio'.
The album kicks of with the wonderfully intriguing 'Forest Fire'. A dragging beat, swirling steel guitar and a hypnotising drawl instantly pulls the listener into the world of Mark (and His Praying Hands). 'Come Home Blues' echoes back to classic Lee Hazelwood -- in fact, it wouldn't be too far off the mark to compare the sound and atmosphere of this record to the great Lee's work. If Lee Hazelwood hadn't have worked with Nancy Sinatra, and instead worked with Jim Morrison ... this might have been the result.
'A Town Too Fast For The Blues' finds itself somewhere between Calexico and The Doors. It's a haunting, pounding merry-go-round. 'I'll Wait' (think Comes A Time era Neil Young) slows things to a nice pace, setting us up nicely for the wonderfully dark 'Graffiti Girl'. The next track; 'Ask The Wind, Ask The Dust' is drenched in a dusty Ennio Morricone atmosphere. Eerie steel guitar and equally eerie backing vocals played over a bizarre, wispy (electronic) beat.
'Don't Look Back' reminds me of classic Willie Nelson balladry, before the rollicking 'You'll Be Mine' leaves us slightly unsettled. Accomplished rockabilly drumming backs some really good reverb-drenched guitars -- again this sounds like Morrison doing Hazelwood (it wouldn't be out of place on The Doors' People Are Strange').
The album's last third produces the least impressive of all the tracks; 'Sin Tax Dance', however, it is a nice little 'pop' number.
The title track is possibly the most surprising; gone is the Pickerel brand of `Americana', and in its place is a pensive, ambient swing. The album closer, 'Town Without The Blues' finds Mark delivering each line in a Lee Hazelwood groan, and there's a fine tempo change. Before you know it, there's a pretty damn fine solo (possibly 3 minutes 50 in) and by the end you're compelled to listen to the album over again.
No doubt the album will be widely ignored, but Snake in the Radio is a triumph. A very promising `debut'.
Note: This Review was made by Play.com customer: JimSkywalker on Rakuten’s Play.com on the date shown.
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