- Life in a Blender, Homewrecker Spoon(2012, Fang Records)
Life in a Blender, Homewrecker Spoon
(2012, Fang Records)
Do you remember Dirk Hamilton? Chances are, even if you’re old enough to recall the Indiana-born songwriter you’ve never heard of him or of his brilliant, unjustly obscure albums like Alias I and Meet Me at the Crux. Hamilton specialized in smart, smart-ass records peppered with ethnic grooves, sweet horn charts, and his own chameleonic voice. Life in A Blender’s Don Ralph has a similarly nimble instrument, and he also shares a bent for satire and street corner soul. The band also includes Phoenicia bassist Mark Lerner, and its latest album, Homewrecker Spoon, finds Ralph hinting at Hamilton, as well as Tom Waits, Danny Elfman, and even Gang of Four’s Jon King.
Unfortunately, for every joy like the title track or “The Juiciest Plum”—which rides by on a kissable Detroit arrangement by the Colony Collapse Horns—there is a misstep like the melodically bland, mem-ish “Sean Connery.” “The Rain Makes Me Thirsty” starts like an outtake from Waits’s Frank’s Wild Years, before inexplicably segueing into the Bee Gees and Yvonne Elliman by way of Ralph Stanley. (Don Ralph actually sings “If I Can’t Have You.”) The good news is that his voice often makes him sound smarter than the lyrics, with the lightweight “Summer Goes Too Fast” being a prime example. If you don’t spend too much time worrying over the words, Homewrecker Spoon will sound just fine sparking out of your car speakers. Fangrecords.com.