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Over the Hill - Looking for a Spark

Looking for a Spark

Over the Hill

Available by download from Amazon.com

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Geez, there's so much here: alt, weird folk, mutato country, drunken jug, ubu rokk, and God hisself only knows what else. No matter what one hears in this splendid DIY release, though, the entirety has been infected with a virus yet undiscovered by science. Looking for a Spark is the kind of release the eclectic critic hungers for, the better to spread the word to a legion of ravening readers pounding the alleys and byways for intriguing fare.

When I say DIY, I mean DIY—the liner is a spray-painted cardboard foldover with pasted-on xeroxed "plates" listing only the CD title and track names—but I also don't mean it. The recording, which I'm guessing is a bedroom job, is sharp and clear while lacking studio gimcrackery almost completely (especially in the absence of the standard aphex aural exciter on Morgan McCoy's sloppy but magnetic vocals, a yippee ki-yay kinda singing). Some of the tracks are surprisingly sophisticated, unless, of course, you actually expect demented Gregorian chant and backmasking, such as appears in Sunrise, with your prairie heatstroke…and if you do, you're way ahead of me in the not-quite-right-in-the-head department, bubba.

One can't help but make ghost references between McCoy and Dave Thomas of Pere Ubu; they're both scratchy, freaky, fascinating encanters, one hailing from Plainsfield by way of Mars, the other from Akron, adjacent to Bedlam. Then there's McCoy's guitar playing, often fragmenting itself in similar Ubu references, the time when Tom Herman, Peter Laughner, and Tim Wright were strumming and plucking in crazed tones and timbres. Nor could the guy have chosen better musicians to back him, a trio embellishing his every move—a bit stabler than he, though, in order that the enterprise doesn't get fitted for a straitjacket.

Don't forget the overload of off-the-wall charm either. What, in the lead cut, begins as quirky and eccentric soon, by the third track, burrows deeply under your skin as a smile and guffaw, just at the audacity of it all, rumbles up from viscera and larynx. Morgan McCoy is one of those guys who has a twisted Muse, and he puts up not an erg of fight against it. I suspect he even takes it barhopping on weekends.

Track List:

  • Alcatrazz
  • Instrument
  • Waltz
  • Looking for a Spark
  • Dead of Night
  • Beyond Beyond
  • Sunrise
  • Blood in my Mouth
  • Singin to the Dead
  • Over There
No writing credits given because, I ain't kidding, this is about as
spare and bargain basement as presentation gets…
but even that carries a wry appositeness.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

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Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 

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