The disc starts with the 50’s sounding roots-rock rave up “You Really Oughta Be With Me”, which features a blazing guitar solo and a call-and-response ‘chorus’ between the guitar leads and bass. This is followed by the Byrdsian/Laurel Canyon sounding “We Got All Night” which features echo-drenched guitar work along with a guitar solo that could rival Neil Young’s work on “Mr. Soul”. Continuing to switch gears around the band’s core sound, Keith and his band, the One Four Fives, (named after a standard chord progression) slide into the power-pop gem “Everything is Different Now”.
Keith has a winsome voice (with shades of John Lennon and/or Peter Case) and the clarity of his delivery highlight his ability to turn a lyrical phrase. Most of the songs are tales of love and loss – from the bluesy waltz “Ninety Proof Kiss” (“No one ever looked finer still wearing last-night’s eyeliner / I’m sure gonna miss that ninety-proof kiss / The only kind you ever laid on me”) to the rainy-day Lennonish number “She’s Almost You” (“Why should I pine for you every day, when she loves the words I used to say to you / they’re almost true”). The disc ends with the upbeat garage rock number “Baby We’re A Bad Idea” (“I’m not the only one / I know I’m not the only one / I don’t care when I’m tangled in your hair that I’m not your only one”). While other artists have used similar lyrical themes to explore Americana/New Depression tales of woe, Keith’s upbeat and energetic delivery is a welcome change and the disc’s thirty-five minute running time warrants repeated plays.
John Paul Keith is playing Bowery Electric on Oct. 24th along with the like-minded Swingin Neckbreakers and Twin Guns and Party Lights. Doors are at 7:30PM and cover is $10.
John Paul Keith