It would be unfair for me to say that my Dad has terrible taste in music. That’s just not true. Instead, it would be more accurate to say that he has no taste in music at all. Whenever you get into his car – and that’s really the only place he ever listens to anything – something completely different is playing. And when I say ‘completely different’ I really mean it. I would be surprised if there is any way to find a link between any two CDs sitting in his glove box.
A lot of time it’s just someone he happened to hear of recently. He’ll see the CD, recognise the name and buy it. Other times, its something he liked when he was younger and more inclined to follow music – usually a form of easy-to-listen-to rock and roll. But regardless of what it is, whenever I get in the car he’ll lead with: “I think you’ll like this.”
And for whatever reason, while listening to ‘The Longest Kiss Goodnight’ all I could hear was my Dad saying “I think you’ll like this.”
This is an old fashioned record. It’s the kind of rock and roll my Dad would have in his car. There’s a definite Dire Straits vibe to it. But maybe, to be perfectly honest, Dire Straits on a bad day. In fact, in the case of lead single ‘$oul$ going cheap’ (and yes, that is how we’re spelling it today) it’s a Flight of the Conchords-style parody of Dire Straits.
In itself, this would be no bad thing. But there is one thing that makes this album so tremendously off-putting that if it weren’t for the fact I had to listen to it, I would never have made it more than halfway through: the vocal performance from lead-singer Gary Hector is one of the worst I have ever heard in my life.
Dude, whatever the hell it was you were going for: you missed.
Whether it was the weird drawl employed in opening track ‘Loveless Street’, the Bob Dylan-with-a-head-injury slurring of ‘$oul$’ or the sheer pain induced by ‘Camden Ketchup’ — it just didn’t work. When you consider that the songs really benefit on the tracks where the vocal is toned down (notably ‘The South of France’ and ‘Dirty Little Secrets’) then that’s a real shame.
And this is compounded by the fact that musically the album is solid. Functional and occasionally interesting, it never really goes anywhere new or unexpected – but then the audience for this, my father included, probably wouldn’t be looking for it to anyway.
So aye, this is the kind of album I wouldn’t be shocked to find myself listening to while sat in the passenger seat of my Dad’s car but, as is usually the case in that situation, I didn’t really like it.
(Released through Anarchy on the Ave. and OUT NOW)
Kenneth John Porteous