Today’s entry is The Next Big Nobody by Paul Dake.
My description of this sound would be elevated folky garage rock.
The band is great, the production and arrangements are solid. Paul and crew manage to create a grand yet intimate feel throughout. My concern is the material just doesn’t have a lot of bite.
Paul’s voice is doing its best Mick Jagger impersonation but has none of Mick’s bravado. As a songwriter Paul’s lyrics have potential but often (not always) feel superficial. Solid solo guitar work grounds the fluffiness of most of the album.
That being said, there are highlights.
End Of The Run would be at home blasting from the 8 track player of a muscle car barreling down the highway to parts unknown.
Keep On Being Good is a valid request asking people not to forget who they’re supposed to be in the grander scheme of things. Before politics and belief systems, let’s not forget to “keep on being good.”
Let’s Have A Drink is every bit a solid olde Irish Pub song, at turns both properly wistful and mournful.
Who Is It For? questions the artifice in the routine of looking for completeness outside ourselves, whether it be that unfulfilled dream or that hookup at the end of the night.
Impossible Promise asks how long is it possible to live and do for everyone else and still be yourself. How do I get to the stage where I open my eyes and say this is who I am?
Sometimes A Dream takes a thoguhtful poetic turn with lines like chasing starlight through an open vein.
Chosen Few is easily my favorite song on the album. Lovely. Lilting. The raw emotion of Paul’s voice finally shines through here. The song visits that moment every artist meets when they question their own worth. Being so far behind the chosen few and not knowing whether to give in our give out. The last line is truly heartbreaking when the simger realizes he forgot why I carried that song around.
My favorite part of Lovesick is the chorus of “la la la’s” after the the repeated yearning of the line I need you but can’t have you. The moment feels like a man broken, screaming “fuck it” to the wind and skipping down the street to escape the pain.
Find Another Way is a short, sweet, pulsing bass and guitar anthem reminding us that there’s always a plan b.
The album closes out with Home. A soft, jazzy piano element slowly morphs instrument by instrument until the whole band rides a pleasant sturdy riff that really does resolve the whole journey of the album to a satisfying finish.
The Next Big Nobody has potential. All the elements are there. The instrumental interludes are the strongest parts of the album. The most comfortable. Where the artists show me who they are without telling me. But overall there isn’t enough fire to push this train into high speed.