The time has passed, it has been 23 years since “Chance” by The Rave-Ups came. But I have never ever forgotten “Town and Country” from 1985 and “The Book of Your Regrets” from 1988. There are discs that can greatly withstand being picked up again, despite the time that has passed. When singer and songwriter Jimmer Podrasky finally finds the time ripe for a solo album, it sounds as if time has stood still.
The Rave-Ups were a great band. Equal parts pop / power pop, roots-rock, alternative rock, alt-country (long before the alt-country / No Depression / Americana moniker existed) and singer / songwriter tunes. And Podrasky has taken all this with him. To help him on the record, he has been joined by Mitch Marine and Brian Whelan from Dwight Yoakam’s band — the latter gave out a great power pop solo album last year — Rami Jaffee (The Wallflowers, Grant Lee Buffalo, Willie Nile, Foo Fighters and Pete Yorn), Ted Russell Kamp (Shooter Jennings and solo artist) and pedal steel legend Marty Rifkin (among other things, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty).
And truly he is not difficult to recognize when he repeats in time with “The Far Left Side of You” with a great harmonica in the introduction, and a shade rich with a lot of guitars, acoustic and electric. Then even more harmonica and Podrasky’s distinctive voice. “Empty” keeps the guitar, but uses the organ as the main seasoning instead of harmonica — wonderful, wonderful half-tempo pop rock. He bends a little on the “Big Ball of String” — fast, nice bouncy country. Again with the voice, with the space. “The Would-Be Plans” is a bit heavier and more monumental — lower speed, roaring organ. Heavy guitars. Strings and high tempo on “She Has Good Records” — 70s inspired folk rock, with excellent use of strings. A song that gets me in a good mood. “Satellite” held me in a great mood, while we are running in the picturesque country sound of the harmonica and pedal steel. Actually, completely amazing. Very nice chorus. He slowed the “Molotov Moon” — a semi-ballad with organ and pedal steel in marvelous ensemble. And I sit here and have trouble grasping how good this is.
“Just What You Do” grows it even slightly — adds another dimension to an album that reminds me of Dylan. He increases the pace ion “With This Ring”. But adds acoustic guitar and accordion, giving the album enough dimension. “Fall” concludes the album and aligns the circle.
Here we are back in the sound of “Town and Country” from 1985. But Harder. More rock. Less shades. I am reminded how much I loved and still love this band.
When Podrasky finally managed to drive the career forward again, he has put a fourth a building block on top of his fantastic great portfolio. I hope he finds this so successful that he continues to release records.