WILD GOOSECHASE EXPEDITION, the fifth CD from Spottiswoode & His Enemies, is the band’s most shamelessly eclectic recording since their debut eponymous release. It tracks the journey of a rock band on a doomed tour.
The remarkable artwork by renowned English painter, Alexander Gorlizki, clearly announces that the album is an homage to The Beatles. “It’s our Magical Mystery Tour,” says Spottiswoode. “As a bandleader, I often feel like a general leading his troops into battle. I’ve been playing with my Enemies for over a decade. The trip only gets more surreal. Many of these songs are about life on the road. But they could also be about being a soldier on a tour of duty.”
In addition to the title track, songs on this parallel theme include the manic Wake Me Up When It’s Over, the rocking lament Happy Where I Am, the psychedelic Purple River Yellow Sun and the tragic All My Brothers. As with all Enemies collections, a haunting narrative weaves beneath the surface of the individual songs and mysteriously elevates the whole journey.
The CD opens with the anthemic Beautiful Monday. It then gradually becomes darker and stranger. The band, in top form, careens from balls-out rock, novelty blues and haunting balladry to acerbic sometimes tongue-in cheek social commentary – as in the high-octane lament, All Gone Wrong. The adventure ends with the epic You Won’t Forget Your Dream featuring a beautiful solo from trumpeter Kevin Cordt followed by a tour-de-force response from Tony Lauria on piano.
The CD also shows off the incredible versatility of lead guitarist, Riley McMahon; soulful and savage saxophone and singing from Candace DeBartolo; and the rock tight rhythm section of John Young on bass and Konrad Meissner (subbing in for Tim Vaill who has since returned to the band) on drums and percussion.
Spottiswoode himself strums a guitar and sings from a catalogue of perspectives. Ever the chameleon, he plays jaded rocker, heartbroken romantic, vaudeville comedian, introspective philosopher, Zen-like sage and complete lunatic. He commits to every role. “I am tired of irony,” he says. “Each song is sincere in its own way. Sometimes my funniest songs come from the saddest place. That is the wonderful alchemy of songwriting. I meant every word of I’d Even Follow You To Philadelphia when I wrote it.”
WILD GOOSECHASE EXPEDITION was produced for Old Soul Records by Kenny Siegal (Chris Whitley, Larkin Grimm, Joseph Arthur, Johnny Society), and mixed by Tom Schick (Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones, Kenny White).
released April 21, 2011
Spottiswoode - vocals, guitar
John Young - bass
Candace DeBartolo - saxophone, vocals
Kevin Cordt - trumpet, vocals
Riley McMahon - guitars
Tony Lauria - piano
Konrad Meissner - drums, percussion
produced by Kenny Siegal
mixed by Tom Schick
artwork by Alexander Gorlizki
graphics by Dave Bias
An Old Soul Records release, 2011
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