Yes and You're Welcome
A surprising thing about the music criticism dodge: sometimes the production personnel involved in a recording is an indication of what to expect, more so than what's expected from the performer. What would Johnny Cash's last two releases have sounded like without the skills of Beastie Boys producer Rick Rubin? How would Donald Fagen's or Walter Becker's last solo efforts have sounded if they hadn't helmed each other's productions?
Three years ago this month, a review of Imperial Comet Hour from the British band Mexico 70 appeared in this paper. The review noted the clean, tight energy of the entire production: the music's high ends sizzled through clearly while the bass and percussion were as strong as a bundle of rebar. Plus the songs were good, too. The producer responsible was Tim Patalan. The place where it was made was a studio named The Loft at his farm in Saline, Michigan.
Could You Please and Thank You from Louisville's Peter Searcy benefits from both Patalan's production and Searcy's own solid songwriting. Scheduled for release on February 22, the result is clarity of sound from the recording itself, and clarity of emotion from the material.
Known in Louisville as the former front man for the punk powerhouse Squirrel Bait, then later with Big Wheel and Starbilly, Searcy has gone the way of rock-confessional songwriting, potent and driving pieces with lyrics that reach into the murky depths of the heart. It's far from self-obsessed-navel-gazing. This is a man whose soul is talking directly to the world.
He's a man who's honest enough to confess to his lover, "It's a burden, I know / For you to carry the weight / The weight of both our worlds" in the hook-loaded "Losing Light Fast." He's also compassionate enough to celebrate our imperfections and dissatisfactions in "Broken," and the "cracks that make us whole." The message: our imperfections make us real, and what's real is beautiful. The title track reminds us of the times we've been involved with someone and had seen something within him or her that scared us, as if we realized we've stayed too long at a party when the hosts bring out painters' tarps and a jug of corn oil. We begin asking for a ride home.
This is Searcy's initial release on Time Bomb Recordings, where he'll join other straightrazor luminaries like Mike Ness, the Reverend Horton Heat, and Sunny Day Real Estate.
The clarity, power and honesty of Could You Please and Thank You is cleansing, cathartic. Have it rip through the speakers in your car while driving with the top down or windows open, regardless of the weather. When you're home alone, crank it up and have a private slam dance.
It's what you listen to when you need to blast the barnacles off your heart and learn to live.