Thursday, March 15, 2007
Album Review: Gary B & The Notions - Get Those Crazy Notions!; Free MP3 - "Partridge vs. Magpie"
When I first popped in Gary B & The Notions' EP, Get Those Crazy Notions!, I was pretty sure I was listening to Elvis Costello back before he was doing cameos in Will Ferrell movies. More like circa My Aim Is True(or perhaps a more apt comparison would be This Year's Model, Costello's first album with The Attractions) than Talladega Nights.
In fact, comparisons to Costello are very easy with Gary B and his backing group The Notions. Gary himself may be almost as prolific as Elvis Costello, having a catalogue of over 150 songs in his personal repertoire. With a semi-formal shirt and tie look and an unfettered emotional sound, New Wave has returned to Baltimore. Songs like "Lori" hark back to Costello's "Alison", and the EP kicks off with the sole sound of Gary's voice on "Wear The Ring", akin to Costello's debut which introduces Elvis Costello's voice on "Welcome To The Working Week". With all these parallels to such a rock institution, I would worry that Gary B could, in some totally unintentioned but unescapable cosmic parallel, drop the band like Costello did after My Aim Is True. But that must not happen. Read on!
The chemistry that The Notions have is palpable on "Partridge vs. Magpie", and dispels any suspicion that this quintet is some kind of shtick entertainment routine trying to divine their sound from one place. The rocking and rolling of songs like the aforementioned conjure Thin Lizzy (which I don't think I can say about many current bands, and that is pretty rad), and "The Exercise Song" almost hits me with a rockabilly Buddy Holly feeling. And dare I say I sense a bit of Ricky Nelson? Would you prefer the Kinks?
The obvious breakout track on this EP is "Lori" (if you head over to the band's MySpace page, you'll see the developing legion of Loris all over the MySpace planet who are vain enough to think the song is about them), a soulful lady ballad that sends this EP that's almost enough to be a full-length off with a slow strum. With The Notions, Gary B has found his Attractions. We here at Any Given Tuesday anxiously await a full-length.
Having landed opening slots for artists like Sufjan Stevens, The Hold Steady, Of Montreal, Gary Barrett, Jr. is not new to the scene, and he is not without his accomplishments. Moreover, as Gary B & The Notions there have been slots with Elf Power and Peelander-Z. So if you're not convinced by Any Given Tuesday, perhaps those indie heavies can convince you.
And if you need a taste, download "Partridge vs. Magpie", your free Gary B & The Notions MP3 (while it lasts. To help Any Given Tuesday's bandwidth woes, read our plea).