Wednesday, March 17, 2010
CD of the Day, 3/17/10: Rob Laufer-Excruciating Bliss
Rob Laufer should be a bigger name in power pop circles than he is. As I wrote in my review of his previous disc, 2006's The Iron Age, "Rob Laufer is a pro. A pro's pro, in fact. He's played George in Beatlemania, he's played with Frank Black and Fiona Apple, he's produced, he's written for commercials, and he wrote "Reactionary Girl" (a great track) for Robin Zander's first solo disc." The Zander connection continued as he played live with Cheap Trick on their Sgt. Pepper DVD. Perhaps his problem is that his solo discs are few and far between; Excruciating Bliss is only his third disc over a 15-year period.
On the new disc, Laufer branches out a bit from his Beatles/Marshall Crenshaw/Jon Brion template to incorporate some contemporary pop stylings. Not that's he rapping or going American Idol on us, but opener "Come on Sunshine" makes use of some almost Beck-like psychedelia, and "Bad Math" has an acoustic punk feel to it. That's not to say that Laufer has abandoned the hook. Far from it, as "New Life" is "She's Leaving Home" on steroids; "Faith" is the kind of Macca-influenced number that David Grahame is famous for; and "Mary Entertaining" is 3:35 of vintage power pop.
Other highlights include the Michael Penn-like "Tears of Home" and the driving, catchy "Someday I Know". It's too bad we have to wait an average of 5 years for new Rob Laufer music, but 2010 is our lucky year. It's available now on CD Baby and will get a wider release on April 6.
UPDATE (4/6): Lala embed and iTunes link now available.
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