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Elliot Schneider

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase

Review by Gary Hill

Elliot Schneider has been plying his musical trade for a long time. He played his music for Les Paul in the late 1960s. He played at CBGBs as they were getting up and running. In fact, his band was the third to headline there. This new CD includes some new music and some older bonus tracks. I'd have to say that Les Paul and CBGBs combined makes a good description for this. There is a punk edge to it. A lot of it makes me think of Elvis Costello. Yet, there is an old school rock and roll vibe in a lot of ways. I am not blown away by everything here, but there is enough strong stuff to make it worthwhile.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Moon Has Flown Away

The wall of vocals that opens this sounds a bit like The Beach Boys. The cut works out from there to a slab of Americana. The choruses seem to merge those sounds while the verses are based more on the Americana alone.

Diehard Killjoy
A lot more of an old-time rock and roller, I really dig this one. It has some killer guitar soloing. The tune has a bit of a punky edge to it.
Lost On The Radio
This has a definite DIY element to it. The vocals are at times a bit hard to take, but the guitar solo segment is great.
Captain Argent

A classic rock meets punk vibe is the concept here. This is a solid tune that has some decent variety and dynamic range. I'm definitely reminded of Elvis Costello to some degree on this. The tone of the guitar soloing is top-notch.

Are We Only Dinosaurs

I like the guitar solo on this one a lot. The song is another that has a bit of an Elvis Costello vibe to it. It's a decent number, but is a little awkward at times.

In A Sense Innocence
There are many layers of vocals on top of this tune. It's a melodic rocker that's one of the most effective cuts of the set.
A Key To You (Radio Edit)
The guitar sound on this is crunchy and meaty. This is part vintage hard rock and part punk. It's also one of the best tunes here. It just plain rocks.
Overruling Neo-Fascists

Folk music and pop rock seem to merge here. This is a bit odd, but also a lot of fun. It's playful and catchy. It's one of the more effective numbers on the set. The harmonica adds something to the piece.

Surreal Survivor
This has a lot of old time rock and roll built into it. It's another that's not far removed from the sound of Elvis Costello. The punky, angry choruses later really bring a different angle to it. I like the meaty guitar solo, too.
First Day Of Summer
This balladic cut has a lot of folk in the mix. It's one of the more effective cuts here.
Just Don’t Really Know If You Exist

There are some jazzy elements built into this cut. It also has quite a bit of folk music in the mix. This is another that has some awkward moments. That said, there are some intriguing bits of magic built into it, too.

Ancient Bonus Material
                  

Poison Ivy (Live Cover Song 1986)

This really does sound a lot like Elvis Costello. It has a great punky edge to it.

Hopelessness (Resist Paralysis) [Demo]

Elvis Costello, DIY rock and roll and punk all merge here. This solid enough that it could have been slotted in to the main album in place of one of the weaker cuts and worked well.

Death Insurance (Live Rehearsal 1978)

This punky cut is not as successful as some of the rest. The recording leaves a bit to be desired, too.

Any Angel Can Have Me (Acoustic Rehearsal 1982)

A folk punk styled tune, this feels a bit too slow to me. It's a decent song, but not at the same level as some of the rest. Then again, this is a bonus track. I dig the guitar solo, though.

First Day Of Summer (Solo As Sung To Les Paul Demo)

A folk rock styled piece, this is solid. In fact, I'd say this could work well in place of one of the weaker pieces in the album proper.

Ready And Willing (Original Demo 1979)

Noisy and punky, this definitely sounds like a demo. Still, it has some charms. Besides, it's a bonus.

 
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