The latest from Ted McCloskey is the musical equivalent of a Supersized ValueMeal. Loaded with 23 tracks, McCloskey’s 2009 opus “One Night Bland” record has been divided into two distinct sections: the ‘Prefixes’, and the ‘Remixes’. I initially thought this meant that the first half of the tracks were demos of the second half of the tunes – but that is not the case. These are 23 independent tracks, the ‘Remixes’ representing recordings first heard on his 2003 debut, “One Man Misery Parade”. So set aside a sizable block of time to digest all of “One Night Bland”.
The vocals are bipolar – most of the songs have that classic “raunch n’ roll” tone – that characteristic rasp that sits somewhere between Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls and Josh Todd of Buckcherry. But during a down-shift in the music, McCloskey appropriately sounds tamer – even tender – and like he didn’t spend all night shouting at the waitresses while chain smoking in the bar.
The thing I love most about this record is the spirit – McCloskey is a purist for that classic rock and roll sound and attitude. Even better, he grounds everything with a strong hook in the chorus; as he puts it, his music is like “highly refined chaos”. Ted McCloskey has all the swagger of the early Rolling Stones, the innovation of The Replacements, and pop sensibilities of The Kinks. In many respects, Ted McCloskey simply has it all, and “One Night Bland” is so packed with diverse songs I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find at least one track that suits your taste. McCloskey throws at you gritty electric and acoustic guitars, slide guitar, harmonica, piano, banjo, and more…in tunes that range from good ol’ rock n’ roll to bar blues to honky tonk to coffee shop to that thing Beck does (check out “Let-Me-Go-Or-Let-Me-In).
For the Prefixes portion, my personal picks include “Tilt-A-Whirl”, “Some Other Planet”, and the very Replacements sounding “I’m Gonna Learn You How”. For the Remixes portion, it is even more difficult to find highlights as so many of the songs are great, but I’ll pick “Misdirected Karma”, “A Passing Moment of Thought”, “Beautifully Dead”, and the terrific ballad, “Even If…”. For anyone who loves rock – you need to reserve an evening for Ted McCloskey’s “One Night Bland”. Excellent, excellent record.
iPOD-worthy: 2, 5, 7, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22