Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Rip Off Artists - Esque - 2008

Nick Pipitone and Peter Batchelder went on a mission. The manifesto for their group "The Rip Off Artists" is pretty straight forward. They follow all the right rules for great pop music. Beatlesque. Costelloesque. Bacharachesque. You get it. "Esque" follows through with an excellent group of songs. The opener "The Present, Tense" is a brainy Partridge-like lush guitar song and very much like the Honeydogs' non-country pop displayed recently. It's followed by the Elvis Costello-like "What Just Happened?" with great orchestral breaks at the songs end point. The wonderful guitar and piano on "The Wishful Thinker" is like an outtake from XTC's "Nonsuch". Then the ballad "The Worst News in The World" reminds me of Mike Viola's latest. The lyrics are playful and light hearted for "The Girl Behind The Bar" - as the author dreams about the bartender. "Sidetracked" uses a steady synth-beat and slide guitar to evoke regret and the crossing harmony will win you over. Lyrically it compares well to Fountains of Wayne's slice of life absurdities. The album somehow gets even better as it continues, "Without You I'm Something" is a slice of pure pop heaven with chord progressions that rival the best of Bryan Scary. In between each couple of songs is an acted melodrama and it all ends of with the swirling Sqt. Pepper's melody of "I Thought it Over" - my favorite song here. The themes presented in the lyrics are about contrasts in relationships, examples being lines that follow in "Love and Uncertainty," "There's a time and a place for us/ Just not now/ Not here" and it all works wonderfully. A sure top ten album for 2008. Mission Accomplished

If you like "Esque" get it here!

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