Location, Location, Location
Andrew Lorand(TRCP 1303)
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
As a music critic, it would be easy to let the first track of a CD set the tone for the album review. If that were the case, Andrew Lorand's second album Location, Location, Location would be plagued by the opening song, Weird. Not that many of the songs on the album don't deal with unusual topics or the usual topics in an unusual way, but allowing Weird to epitomize Location, Location, Location would be a grave injustice to the more pensive, introspective songs that do appear on this album.
The obvious comparison to the first three tracks (Weird, AM 1610, and Almost Happy) is the electic band, They Might Be Giants. Lorand's vocals, the subject of the song, and the production style, all hearken to the quirky material of TMBG. Weird presents case studies of avant-garde artists who continually do outrageous stunts in order to get noticed. One example is the artist who "cuts a tomato in two, then dips it in nacho cheese, then splats it on a canvas. . . . He pisses on the corner, then shoots it three times, then hangs it on the wall." AM 1610 tells the tale of a consummate couch potato who's really proud of himself for picking up the phone on the third ring and talking to his ex-girlfriend about his broken toaster. Almost Happy is a rather extreme illustration of the male gender's fear of commitment.
Expecting the fourth skewed song in a row, Lorand surprises the listener with Ordinary, a song about falling in love---only slightly skewed this time. It is only a short respite, however, as the third "relationship song" in a row begins, My Camaro, My Handgun, and a Beer, a countrified, pedal-steel guitar satire about life in white-trash suburbia after the departure of the narrator's beloved Wanda.
Other relationship songs that take a peculiar twist include Rita about trying to make up and be friends with an ex-girlfriend: "Alice says I make a great ex-boyfriend. So why not you?" Masks draws parallels between buying a souvenir mask in East Africa as proof of the vacation and the emotional baggage that people carry through life from previous relationships as "proof to show that we were here."
Location, Location, Location also has several topical songs. Eight Short Minutes refers to the statistic that every eight minutes a rape occurs. This slow piano-based song is a stirring reminder of the loneliness and abandonment a rape victim experiences and the questions that nag others close to her about how they might have prevented it from occurring. Illegal Love is based on Bowers vs. Hardwick (1986), an Supreme Court case in which a gay man was arrested for having sex in the privacy of his own home.
The album closes with Joie De Vivre Blues, a tune about the morning-after hangover, complete with such original, descriptive narrative as "[I] wish the right and left sides of my brain would stop screaming at each other and call a truce", and "it feels like I've got a cardigan sweater on my tongue."
The production on this album matches the songs, and their topics, well. The instrumentation blends with the motif and does not distract from the songs. Unlike many singer/songwriters whose songs all tend to blend into one on their albums, Lorand keeps each song fresh, as they possess their own unique style. So despite the opening salvo of Weird, Location, Location, Location" succeeds because of the varied, humorous, sensitive, and eclectic mix of tunes. It comes highly recommended by this reviewer.
Edited by David N. Pyles (firstname.lastname@example.org)