Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Successful Failures-Ichor of Nettle.

Wrap him for shroud in a petal. / Embalm him with ichor of nettle.

— Robert Frost, Departmental, 1936

With a name drawn from a Jack London short story and an album whose title refers to the Robert Frost passage above, New Jersey's The Successful Failures do have a literary bent. And on their latest, they manage to work up another collection of three-chord pop-and-roll that plays as well in intellectual circles as it does on the car radio with the top rolled down. For the higher-minded, you have the album title, and tracks such as "The Ballad of Julio Cuellar", which draws on this real-life story and a paean to legendary Texan Sam Houston. Then you have the philosophical musings of "When Did Everybody Grow Up?" and "The Shit That Weighs You Down", the former being a power popping rocker and the latter a rootsy stomp. And finally you have the regular guys from the Northeast who know there's "No Good Way" to travel from Boston to Philly so they can sing their "PA Fight Song". It's all here from power pop to classic rock to Americana to roots rock. They're The Successful Failures, and they'd have it no other way.


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