Tuesday, November 07, 2017
The Red Button-Now it's All This!
One of the best things to happen to power pop in the last 10 years was Seth Swirsky and Mike Ruekberg, both accomplished solo artists, joining forces to form The Red Button. Their 2007 debut, She's About to Cross My Mind, was a brilliant take on the Beatles and swinging 60's London that wasn't a shameless Rutles-like imitation. It topped my year-end list and several others, and although their 2011 followup, As Far as Yesterday Goes (which added a 70s singer-songwriter sensibility to the mix), wasn't quite as brilliant it was still one of the best records released that year.
10 years later, Swirsky and Ruekberg have decided to commemorate their partnership by releasing Now it's All This!*, a 2-disc compilation that consists of those two full-length albums on disc one, and a second disc that features an EP of 6 new songs and 4 additional "unplugged" (I use the quotation marks because they don't sound that unplugged) versions of tracks from the first two albums. Obviously of particular interest here are the six new tracks. "Can't Let Candy Go" opens things much as "Cruel Girl" and "Stuck in the Middle" opened the first two albums, a Ruekberg raver that draws on Hard Day's Night-era Beatles. His "Behind a Rainbow" follows with what might be the EP's best track, a tale of mismatched lovers with a buoyant melody and chorus. Swirsky's "Tell Me it's Over" is another gem, a midtempo number with Rickenbacker that would have fit in perfectly on the second album.
The second half of the EP commences with "Tracy's Party", 2:08 of early Beatles-inspired Ruekberg rocking followed by Swirsky's gorgeous "Solitude Saturday", a ballad that owes as much to Brian Wilson as it does the Fab Four. And as on the two albums the closer finds them harmonizing together, this time on the jangly title track. Obviously if you have the first two albums you should just go ahead and individually purchase the new tracks, unless of course you want their full output in one CD collection. And for those who have been under a rock the last 10 years or just started getting into power pop, this is a collection that's not optional.
*The title is cleverly an apparent reference to the aformentioned Rutles, specifically Ron Nasty's comment on the brouhaha that resulted from Nasty stating the Rutles were bigger than Jesus.