Friday, December 16, 2005

East River Pipe...

East River Pipe is the kind of artist who should be totally enigmatic. F.M. Cornog (the brains and only member of the operation) seems as if his releases should come screaming out of the ether, unpredictable and secretive. There should be debate about whether he exists at all or is actually more than one person, scholars doing sleuthing. But the facts are the facts and his story is both remarkable and laying out in plain sight. Cornog has battled some serious demons and come out on top living a life both simple and unextraordinary. He works at Home Depot and records his music as he can. His early 2006 release What Are You On? is his first release since 2001 and is so completely shrouded in a world view dominated by drugs both legal and illegal that it gets downright dizzying at times. Don't think this a Hunter S. Thompson gonzo Fear and Loathing style look at drugs. No, this is not a party record. Cornog examines drugs as they function as our crutches, friends, downfall, and necessity. He's talking as much about Zoloft and Paxil, caffiene and alcohol, as he is pot or coke or E. It seems at times to be a blunt confession from a man who's relied on better living through chemistry both to survive and to destroy.

The music is very good. Cornog's style hasn't changed much over the years and here he adheres to his lo-fi singer songwriter aesthetic. He writes excellent melody though his voice is a distinct nasally twang and, at times, so Dylanesque as to make you stop and listen closer. Some of the songs on What Are You On? legitimately rock, there are instances of soaring choruses and wonderfully cracked 70's guitar solos. My only complaint is that many of the songs are too short and I'm never one to complain about too short. I think most CDs run far too long, just give me your 10 best and get the fuck out of here. But Cornog's 13 songs (in 39 minutes) are all short and often end just as things really get going. None the less I'm digging this record hard.

2 songs from What Are You On?:

You Got Played Little Girl

Shut Up And Row


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