CD Review: IKE “Tie The Knot With All That You Got”

John Faye and IKE break open the new decade with another winning record, “Tie The Knot With All That You Got”. This record sees a personnel change (longtime bassist Joann Schmidt has departed), but the one constant thing about IKE is that they never fail to deliver a fine collection of new pop rock gems. The 2010 version of IKE includes John Faye of course on lead vocals and guitar, Brett Talley on lead guitar and backing vocals, Tommy Kristich on drums, and Susie Steen on bass.

For those less familiar with IKE, frontman John Faye used to be in the fantastic yet grossly underrated 90s band, The Caulfields. Upon their break-up, John Faye released a solo effort (The John Faye Power Trip), with another power pop master, Cliff Hillis, on board. Incidentally, Hillis was also a member of IKE for their first two records, “Parallel Universe” and “In Real Life”. But I digress – how is “Tie The Knot With All That You Got”?

Thematically, IKE describes the new release as: “Breakin’ up is hard to do, but IKE breaks on through to the other side, confronting big-ticket subjects like the decline and rebirth of love, mortality, and hypocrisy”. From the opening hand claps to the perfect harmonies in the final “Why?” chorus, IKE takes you for another thrilling spin on their trademark crunchy rock ride. The title track kicks things off, and is well suited to setting the stage, being one of the most infectious and energetic tracks IKE has recorded of late. The great tunes keep coming at you with “Set You In Stone” and my favorite off the record, “1-Way To Avalon”. “Latitude” is another particularly strong song, a sure-fire winning power ballad. I’d also like to call your attention to the outstanding “Where Did You Come From?“, arguably the most radio-friendly song on the record. We’re also treated to a rather rare, stripped down version of IKE on the album’s infectious closer, the acoustic-based “Aftermath”.

Yet again IKE delivers track after track of melodic rock ear candy. The band has an excellent chemistry and John Faye proves he still has some of the best pipes and songwriting instincts in the genre. It is very early in the year, but IKE has set the bar high and is the band to beat for one of the best records of 2010.

IKE will satisfy fans of Better Than Ezra to Dashboard Confessional – and any band in-between.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13

IKE on MySpace. Official site. Get it.

Don’t miss my interview with John Faye here!