Surfing or Hell?

Salesmen and Racists (Republic/Universal)
Ike Reilly

By David Lilly

Are there snakes in Chicago? Singer/musician/songwriter Ike Reilly has lived there most of his life and is not a snake, even though he claims to crawl out of his skin at times. A singer whose voice bears a resemblance to mid-'60s Dylan, Reilly plays mostly solid rock `n' roll. He also churns out an achingly good, melancholy number called "New Year's Eve" and a ballad called "Crave Me." Holy heartland, Batman! There's even an acoustic stomper titled "God Damn Shame."

Pop the disc into the oven, press play and the first thing Reilly cooks up is a fun and risqué rocker called "Last Time." During this song he asks the intriguing question, "Who goes to hell/and who goes surfing?" He also sings a few R-rated observations concerning his relationship with a girlfriend. Parts of the next song, "Angels and Whores," evoke the Beatles' "You Know My Number," and the band balances that with some good, hearty slamming of the drums and howling electric guitar. No party would be complete without at least one playing of the rollicking knee bouncer, "Commie Drives a Nova." And that's not sarcasm. A song called "Assassination" might not sound very enticing, but it is an excellent slow dance number.

Salesmen and Racists is a great debut disc from Reilly, and it's a great party disc. If you have young children at home, though, use your own discretion - the disc comes with a "Parental Advisory" sticker. To see and hear more lurid details, feel free to journey over to