Mark Cutler plainly has a wry sense of humor. Maybe even sourdough.
I mean, how often do you find albums with a theme built around a midget WWF wrestler and issued on a record label called Potter's Field? Understand, I am not a fan of WWF and only have commercial awareness of the people who perform as wrestlers, to wit, Hulk Hogan. So it was with no little surprise that I read in the press info about this CD that Sky Low Low was the name of one of those performers (now-retired), a cowboy-vest clad strong man whose photo (sans vest) graces the cover of the album.
Cutler is a rocker from the Providence-Boston area who played in rock acts called The Schemers and the Raindogs before taking to the singer/songwriter route. With Skylolo, he may have found his niche, although New Englanders were first to be fond of his premiere solo effort, Gasboy.
The dozen tunes on this CD are solidly crafted pop tunes with lyric content that ranges from the bittersweet vignette of "Skylolo" to the contrarian "I Could Get Used to This" to the experienced "Lie Next to You." With lyrics for grown-ups in the songs, the delivery of them to adult listeners falls to the melodies and that's where Cutler shines.
The pop hooks that he writes are not the monster head crunchers that A&R reps love so dearly but instead ease into the listener's ears on cat's feet and curl up, purring. The refrain from "I Could Get Used to This" is the prime example of this.
Then the lyrics sink in:
"My telephone don't ring / I don't answer the door. / I'm all by myself and it suits me well. / I don't have no one to answer to./ No one to hold / No one to kiss / I could get used to this."
So go the other songs about life after youth's fury has faded a bit and the desire to go to bed sometimes outweighs the desire to go to bed with someone. Not that he has given in. In "Keep On Trying," he urges "Gotta keep on trying / gotta keep on trying / 'til the day you're tried."
Cutler does not flinch from starting again and again, as his history and songwriting suggests. The optimism required to do that is based on some hope that the repeated effort will succeed. In Mark Cutler's case, that hope might well be justified, as the CD has been getting "adds" at various Americana formatted radio station around the country.
Also interestingly, this CD also met with the approval of a seventeen-year-old music fan whose taste usually runs to Korn, the Dead and techno. I kept it away from him by promising that he could "borrow" it after I finished this review.
He might not get it away from me even then.
Skylolo is available from Potter's Field Records, P. O. Box 521, Astor Sta., Boston, MA 02123