Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Album Review - The Parting Gifts Strychnine Dandelion

This review is part of the "Over Flow" Review Series. For various reasons these past reviews were not published anywhere else. I am tagging them as Overflow Reviews and may add some extra information after if needed but I will keep the ratings and reviews just as I originally wrote them. Enjoy:
 The Parting Gifts
Strychnine Dandelions
**** and1/2 out of *****

The teaming up of Greg Cartwright and Lindsey "Coco" Hames got music nerds all jacked up and apparently it did the same for the participants as a one-off-quickie-collaboration spun into a new band and a full length release.  The newly christened, The Parting Gifts shacked up and spun out Strychnine Dandelion a 15 song album that breezes past in a quick 32 minutes, meaning these songs are short, and very very sweet.  

A slick early 60's lofi rock and roll permeates all of these tracks, while they do cover 1 song from that era the rest all sound so rooted in that peak garage rock time frame it wouldn't be a shock to learn that these were unearthed hits from The Seeds or Birdwatchers, except for one thing...these songs are better.  

Combining Reigning Sound and The Ettes looked great on paper and sounds even better in practice all though it must be noted that Cartwright seems to dominate, and I am guessing no one had a problem with that as the songs flow expertly.  The smoother, slower aspects of all involved come to the forefront with the jangling "Keep Walkin'" opener setting the tone.  

From there on out the mold has been established, the shimmying, tambourine banging "Strange Disposition" warbles the ears and the countrified boogie of "This House Ain't Home" allows Coco to take the lead vocals and play around with male/female dynamics, ending things on a high.  The lone cover comes from a lesser known Rolling Stones song, "(Walkin' Thru This) Sleepy City" bangs a piano and allows all the players to breath musically while the ohhs and ahh's float along among the abandoned streets, a simple tune that sounds like it could go on forever.     

Revisiting the wheel instead of reinventing it, all the tunes presented are great in this vein, "Shine", "Strychnine Dandelion", "Hanna", "Bound To Let Me Down"... I could list them all.  Even with some A-listers helping out (Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys and Patrick Keeler from The Raconteurs) the album plays straight as a love letter from Greg and Coco to a period of rock and roll that still remains unknown to many fans.  Do yourself a favor and pick up this release, break out the tamborine, pump the volume up loud and shakeout out those 21'st century blues.   

I got no idea how this album slipped past me last year...I got it early in 2011 but the review never went anywhere as it was too far past the release date when I wrote it...That is strictly my bad.  Now however, with The Ettes playing Bowery Ballroom this weekend, I figured I would get this post on RtBE.  As for this album...all I can say is wow!!!  It easily would have made my best of 2010 list last year... 

I love me some Greg Cartwright very very much as a musician, he is one of my favorite writing tunes today and can not get enough of anything he has done.  I will say I favor Reigning Sound over most everything else, but if The Parting Gifts stay together they may start to rival that.  Will Coco plays her part here you can just tell Cartwright is the mastermind, you only have to look at his past work with The Detroit Cobras or Mary Weiss to tell he loves writing for a female voice.

This coming together is Boosh and I urge everyone to buy this album if you like straight ahead early 60's garage won't get much better anywhere, including from that decade...take a listen:

"Sleepy City" Stones Cover

"Keep Walkin'" Live
"Don't Wait Up" Live
"This House Ain't A Home" Live


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