DIY outsider legend R. Stevie Moore got together with Jason Falkner, veteran of stacks of bands and projects (including The Three O Clock and The Grays) to produce Make It Be. Stevie’s music is famously lo-fi, but this record applies Falkner’s production talents to Stevie’s songs, bringing them into full focus. Good-times alternative weird-rock to enjoy! Out on Bar-None.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 28 March 2017
Warning: I'm about to get on a rather large horse.
I read a review of this record recently in one of the free mags that come through our door and the writer didn't know who Jason Falkner was. The Jellyfish, the Greys, the Three O Clock guitarist, solo artist, Beck and Paul McCartney collaborator was dismissed as some kind of unknown. A simple google search would have helped but it's also interesting to note that whereas lo-fi oddball R Stevie Moore is known and recognised, Jason Falkner isn't.
Now that I've got that off my chest I can proceed with the review of this record. The two have got together in a rather similar manner to how Daniel Johnston and Mark Linkous collaborated on 'Fear Yourself' or how Johnston and indeed Falkner collaborated on 'Is And Always Was'. Falkner helps iron out some of the creases in Moore's strange and unique take on power pop so that anyone with a basic grasp of the Raspberries can understand where Moore is coming from. These are mainly re-recordings of Moore's best bits and you may balk but where the originals of 'Another Day Slips Away' and 'IH8 Ppl' sometimes suffer from Moore's knowing smirkiness, these are straight down the line takes which let the songs shine through. And great songs they are too. Moore's long and storied history sometimes clouds the fact that he has songs in him that could have easily appeared on Big Star albums without anyone doing too much of a double take.
Not that the album shies completely away from Moore's avant-garde tendencies. Over the course of 18 tracks there's still room for Zappa-ish wackiness on 'Gower' and 'Prohibited Permissions'. He can't help being daft which sometimes dilutes the effect of his chiming pop music. 'Stamps' is a rollocking blast of high energy punk-ish pop with lyrics so ridiculous you want to tie his mouth up with gaffa tape. But along comes 'Sincero Amore' a brilliant slab of Sparks-ish wandering with chiming infectious guitar work and excellent harmonies and you realise that this album is just a microcosm of Moore's career. Brilliant moments rubbing alongside things you'd rather forget. But those good moments are so good you just have to tuck in to this vibrant guitar pop without worrying.
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- Make It Be by R. Stevie Moore and Jason Falkner
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