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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Patrick Storedahl

The Whole Year Inn

Review by Gary Hill

The Whole Year Inn is an expansive release, both in terms of scale and scope. A two CD set, the disc features 25 tracks, accounting for the scale assessment. As far as scope, the music here covers a lot of musical territory. For a general mapping, the disc fits under the category of rock music. It’s hard to pin it down more than that because it wanders between southern rock, jazzy sounds, folk rock and even punk within that specific box.

With The Whole Year Inn Patrick Storedahl has created a set that feels tied together organically while working through a variety of sounds. It’s truly a roots based Americana type of an adventure. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good. One of its biggest assets is the fact that it never feels redundant or tired. The only real flaw is that a few songs feel less thought out than the rest. All in all, though, it’s quite an effective ride.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1 – Side 2B
The Dumbest Thing I Never Did #73 or #56

The set opens with “The Dumbest Thing I Never Did #73 or #56.” The track definitely has a punk oriented vocal delivery, but it’s perhaps closer to the glam rock of groups like The New York Dolls. It definitely has that roots rock type of feeling to it.

Astronaut
“Astronaut” continues that musical theme, but almost has a bit of a David Bowie element.
Roll Over
“Roll Over” truly feels like the kind of roots rock meets punk that emerged in the late 1970s. Of course, there’s also a singer/songwriter vibe onboard. After those first few tracks Storedahl turns it towards mellower music. The balladic cuts that follow have more of those same classic rock meets punk elements, but provide a nice change of pace.
Carpet
There’s a cool retro keyboard sound on this piece. It’s a mellower number that still has a punk sneer. In many ways it calls to mind Radiohead a bit. In fact, it reminds me a little of “Creep” at times.
When You Die
Here we have a song with some serious punk rock built into it. In fact, Storedahl’s sneering vocals remind me of Stiv Bators. It’s a slow moving tune with retro rock matched with punk. The later sections again bring to mind sounds that are similar to Radiohead.
Molly, Me and the Man From Tallahassee
“Molly, Me and the Man From Tallahassee,” has a complex song structure and calls to mind progressive rock and jam band music at times. It’s certainly the most ambitious piece to this point.
Girlfriend
“Girlfriend” follows “Molly, Me…” and it is the first misstep of the set. It’s not a bad track, but a bit too generic to really stand out.
Fireplace
“Fireplace” brings in a more complex arrangement and some almost jazzy and Latin elements. It’s definitely a movement back in the right direction.
Spoons
“Spoons” continues as a ballad that’s in the same basic style, but there are some Beatles-like bits that come in later in the piece.
Bucky Diddle’s Plaid Slip On Shoes
“Bucky Diddle’s Plaid Slip On Shoes” has a real retro surf vibe and provides a great change of pace.
Downtown Doctor Darcy
Here’s a bouncing little number with a real pop rock sound. It’s catchy and fun.
Mrs. Chapman's Daughter
The retro musical elements that make this one up are a lot of fun. It’s a really energetic song that feels like it would have been at home in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Andy Rattlesnaked a Laggard
This cut continues in the same retro rock stylings. It’s another strong one with a great groove and cool keyboard sounds.
Georgia’s Gone to Spain
This is a keyboard dominated piece that’s powerful and quite progressive rock oriented. It’s a ballad that’s among the most effective and evocative pieces of the whole set.
Disc 2 – Side Not 2B
Flatfoot Boogie
As the second CD kicks in, the change is obvious. “Flatfoot Boogie” powers out as a country rocker that’s a lot of fun. It’s got a power-pop section mid-track, too.
Gotta Find a Way Back Home
A roots rock groove makes up “Gotta Find a Way Back Home.”
Hold Me Now
“Hold Me Now” brings back the country elements, but with a balladic arrangement.
(I Can’t) Laugh Like That
“(I Can’t) Laugh Like That” is one of the highlights of the set. It’s got a smoking hot retro soulful groove. It really feels like it could have come out of the early 1970s.
Nothing to Me
“Nothing to Me” opens with acoustic guitar and the first vocals come over with a balladic style. While there’s still some punk built into the piece, it’s also got country. There are female vocals for accompaniment and grows upward as it continues. In a lot of ways it feels like something from the country side of the Rolling Stones.
Be There Soon
This one starts in a mellow motif like the previous number, but then kicks out into rocking arrangement that’s part old time rock and roll, part country and part punk. It’s very much like old school Rolling Stones. There’s a parental advisory on the lyrics, though. A tasty instrumental section that serves as the extended outro feels like Booker T. and the MGs meets the Rolling Stones.     
Deniably Christ, Kid
Piano leads off and the cut builds gradually out from there. The bouncing sort of piano ballad approach has a modern pop element to it, but with an old school rock and roll edge. There’s a cool guitar solo later in the piece, too.
That's How It Is
There’s a killer soulful groove to this cut. It’s got a lot of R & B and even some funk built into it. A horn section and retro organ sound lend to both the retro stylings and a jazzy texture.
Rocking Chair (Crippled and Broken)
Acoustic guitar opens this cut and it’s got a lot of country on this extended introduction. In so many ways this song feels country, particularly once the backing vocals and rhythm section join.
Maybe Tonight
The general country meets punk ethos concept is carried onto this cut. It’s a slow moving number that works pretty well. It’s taken out into a jazzy jam later with a cool saxophone solo that is just plain cool. 
Anxiously Mistaken
A short introductory section gives a false ending. Then after some silence, it rises in another retro styled rocker motif. It’s soulful and tasty and based on a cool groove. The vocals are quite evocative and heartwarming in a lot of ways.
 
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