The X Brothers - Beyond The Valley Of The X
The X Brothers are Andy Hilfiger, Jimmy Cacala and none other than Blue Oyster Cult bassist Joe Bouchard, who actually plays guitar and sings, leaving bass to Andy. Their second album is a collection of seven covers and seven originals. Weirdly, the band recorded at Acme in Mamaroneck NY due to that studio's excellence with drum sounds yet that's my biggest complaint with the album - the cardboardy toms and the high-strung snare. In any event, the album's a blast of BOC-recalling acumen. In fact there are four BOC songs among the covers - Doctor Music a bit on the powerless side, although one can tell this band's mission is to "garage" and "lighten" what they cover. Cool to hear the Kinks' Superman, as well as under-rated Stones classic 2000 Light Years From Home, further driving home the psych/garage vibe of this upbeat band. But the jewelness of the album comes with the hard poppy originals, Joe singin' 'em in his inimitable frail wisdomness, making them sound very much like lost BOC songs. Is This For Real? is moody and lush, Bar Room Blues irresistible and sunny (and thankfully not a blues), with the memorable refrain "Just pissing away the summer trying to forget you." Do It All For You could also have sprung from pretty much any era of BOC, and Downtown... man, yet another great summer popster, sporting a bit of Jackson Browne, Yardbirds, Lou Reed and Mirrors-era BOC. I kind of wish they would have stuck to originals - the digi class of the packaging points to a serious band, and with writing this good, they need to step out of past shadows and influences and... well, what really needs to happen is Joe's gotta pick up Albert, head back to Long Island, and take all these great songs with him. Oddly, it seems age has slowed BOC's writing and recording more than their touring, and if that's the case, Joe's the guy to put them over the hump for a few more records. See www.joebouchard.com for more.