Under The Rock and Roll Marquee Tonight

La Musique De Jacques Brel (Independent)
J. Kessinger and the Verlaines

By David Lilly

After two years as a work (and wait) in progress, Louisville group J. Kessinger and the Verlaines' debut album has arrived, seemingly from darkest Africa and swamps of the unknown; see the Horrifying Man, the Mule-face Woman and the Wolf Boy. Line up to the left and get your tickets ready.

The most mysterious aspect of this affair is figuring out just who J. Kessinger and the Verlaines really are. Is it one Mr. Brent Stewart and his partners in musical crime? The reasonably smart money says so. Since all the songs on this disc are copyrighted 2001, what's the deal with the title, La Musique De Jacques Brel? Dear readers and music lovers, as I'm sure we all know, Mr. Brel has been deceased since the late 1970's. Hence I am "afraid" that "Kessinger" and his Verlaines are putting forth a publicity game that is either mad or genius...or both. So, what about la musique?

Frankly, I just didn't have much response to this disc, with at least one exception. "Matter of Time" is a revved-up, romantic ballad, including stabs of quirky electric guitar and vocals that seem to announce that Kessinger/Stewart (the guy with the mic and no hair) is here to entertain. Big and dumb this is not, but actually kind of (dare I say) artsy rock n roll. Not all the songs are revved-up ballads, but for the most part they rock. The good news is that I realize this band is not necessarily targeting us high school graduates who had not yet had our first reunion when Brel died in 1978, but most likely the ears of those who were learning to walk when The Clash's Sandinista! album was released. So, am I saying this CD is no good? Not at all! It doesn't do much for me, but a lot of people will probably like it if/when they hear it.

My recommendation? At this time, aside from the fact that the contact address at the website does not function properly, I suggest you turn off the TV, hop on the nearest mouse, click over to

www.verlaines.com

and get acquainted. If this were a couple of shades darker or appetizingly stranger, I'd probably be immersed.