Up 'N Comer
We write Pop music. Unapologetically pop. Whether it's the Cajun feel of 'My Maiden', the Roxy Music-esque-ness of 'Venus' and 'Bad Reaction' or the soul of 'Songbird' it's all undeniably pop, and it's ALL Good Citizen. Without a doubt the best album yet. Everything but the CD itself is recycled material in this package. The artwork on the covers was done by hand. A limited edition of numbered and signed prints is available - sadly - only at live shows. But, the art itself is nifty - don't you think? We've gone from 2 piece, to 3 piece, to now - finally - a full band. Gene Whitright - Bass, Banjo, Guitar and Vocals Dina Predisik - Guitar, Accordian and Vocals Carrie Barrios - Saxophone and vocals John Feijoo - Drums and Vocals Cover art by Felice Q. Cleveland, Baltimore, MD. A review by MacReady Lawes: 'On Up N?Comer, Good Citizen continues to explore evocative soundscapes inspired by their southern California home. The album's songs question all manner of authority, from the political variety to the politically-correct, from the financial to the religious (it's no accident that one of the band's previous albums was entitled Test My Faith). Imagine that, after escaping Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Kurt Weill hadn?t settled in New York. Instead, during one of his visits to Hollywood, he met and reunited with Bertold Brecht in L. A. (who indeed lived there between 1941-47). Imagine that they continued to work together there through the 1950s, soaking up the additional influences of West Coast jazz and R?n?B, crafting mordant critiques of American society even as they embraced the more vibrant aspects of American popular culture. The results might sound a lot like Up N?Comer, with it's sharp intelligence and it's distinctive mix of sax, accordion, bass, drums, countless guitars, and the occasional banjo. So what happens when millions of other transplants find themselves ? and their personal and cultural histories ? together in the Promised Land of soCal? The album's songs tell a range of stories. 'My Maiden' is a sprightly reel that offers an upbeat attack on unexamined notions of winning, losing, purity, and salvation; the promises of arrival command a high price. The atmospherics of 'Songbird' begin with Gene Whitright's filtered vocal for the first verse and are sustained by the song's construction of aural and verbal memories of the mythic South: it's Mose Allison's version of the Old Weird America in it's lushness and darkness, reinforced by Carrie Barrios's sax and Dina Predisik's guitar riffing in tandem. 'Venus' opens with anthemic guitars and a wistful expression of romantic longing; suddenly, the idealized love object turns into a 'planet of Poison' instead of a star to guide one's life. The vocal attack of each bridge is intricate, deeply rhythmic. Middle-eastern sonorities match ancient comparisons between an unequal relationship and planetary influences. Whitright's bowed bass at the end adds a perfectly mournful touch. Can one keep the feeling of 'Oh what a beautiful morning' (as quoted from Oklahoma!) day after day on the grinding freeway commute? 'Bad Reaction' doesn?t think so and as the last verse changes, a descending melodic line reinforces the speaker's growing sense of defeat. 'Loud as Mink' is driven by John Feijoo's spare, disciplined, propulsive drumming and by the title's ingenious analogy; there's more than a hint of 'Kiko'-era Los Lobos in the mysteries of sound and conflicted feeling. 'For the Record' centers on the insistent pulse of Whitright's bass and the sustained drone of Predisik's accordion. Brecht and Weill would approve of this assault on consumerist privilege and economic hubris. 'I Needed That' is a rockabilly two-step look at twelve-step intervention, bringing together heartfelt harmonies, Link Wray monster chords, and a revved-up Duane Eddy low-register guitar line. 'Obedient Child' is a devastating portrait not only of George W. Bush individually but also of bad faith disguising itself as being born again. Alternative visions of transcendence are considered in Dina Predisik's vocal for 'Ordinee' (as in having been ordained) in it's lively folk cadences and also it's intimate link with the ocean and with what Freud called the Oceanic experience: the alert acceptance of the vastness and complexity of the physical universe. Wrapping everything up, 'Surf Jig' blends Celtic lore (legend and music) with soCal culture (echoes of the Beach Boys and Dwight Twilley) in it's ecstatic call to 'praise the waves' and 'eat sand' ? the latter a phrase that has many meanings, but including a sense of utter commitment and abandonment. Barrios's sax trills unmistakably channel bagpipes, while Predisik's and Whitright's voices together build a holy of holies at Huntington Beach. As their fellow citizens create problems and wrestle with them, Good Citizen calls attention to the potentially healing power of the mighty presence just to the west: the Pacific Ocean itself. Dive in, they sing. Eat sand.'