January 27, 2004


Short review of Ken Layne and the Corvids' debut CD, Fought Down: itís like 1972 all over again, but this time with brains.

Longer, track-by-track review:

1. Ainít They Pretty

Mournful and sweet; lamentastic. Itís impressive how well Layne sings these slower tunes.

2. Fought Down

If youíre not sunk completely into this after the first two lines, you will be after ďWell, Iím so far gone I canít stand upĒ opens the chorus. A driving song for those who donít mind an occasional vehicular homicide conviction.

Matt Welch is the worldís greatest living tambourinist*.

3. I Should Be That Guy

Inspired by the Paris Hilton video. Well, probably not. But it would make an excellent soundtrack, if Parisís tastes run to rock so pure it actually cleans your Discman as it plays.

4. The Sun Donít Shine

Nashville meets Nuremburg! Did you know that Corvidsí guitarist Axel Steuerwald had never played anything even remotely country-ish before recording this track? So he lies, anyway. I bet heís got Ernest Tubbs tab sheets hidden away in a Bavarian bunker somewhere.

Drummer Steve Coulter should never be allowed to have as much fun as he is having here. I was forced to buy whisky, as a coping device.

5. Mama, Take Another Stand

The most Stones-like track here, except more evolved and less -- I donít know -- pouty. Much is made of the similarity between Layneís voice and Jaggerís, but it should be remembered that Jagger arrived at that sound, and Ken canít help it. Heís from New Orleans. There ainít no cure.

6. Lincoln Town Car

Plenty haunting. Not for the daylight hours. Much like an actual Lincoln Town Car, in fact.

7. Hereís To You

A genial failureís anthem, performed in the country idiom. How else can you frame lyrics like:

When I get the black-ass feeling in my soul
When Iím holding down the loserís club
At the bottom of the hole
When I just want to quit and go away
I drink to you, hereís to you

Hmmm. Maybe not that genial.

8. Worried

My elderly neighbour dropped by as I was reviewing this, so letís get her impressions:

Itís very loud. Could you please turn it down? This is the third night in a row! Some people need their sleep, young man. Donít make me call the police again.

Only kidding! She didnít really say those things. Sheís been dead for weeks now. This is my favourite 'Vids track, an earlier version of which is reviewed here.

9. Glitter On

I should mention Jeff Solomonís bass work, except I really donít know anything about the bass, or any other music machinery. This band does, however. You can kind of tell.

10. Like A Train

No; more like this, all V8 noise and momentum and heat. But ďLike A MustangĒ didnít fit.

For the love of God, donít just take my word for how great this CD is. Take the word of Howard Owens, Charles Hill, Jim Treacher, Glenn Reynolds, Tony Pierce, Kate Sullivan, Stephen Green, Shannon Okey, Paul Palubicki , Henry Copeland, Penalty Kicker, Scott Chaffin, Greg McIlvaine, George Wallace, Steve Smith and Cindy Chaffin. These are people who know things.

You may listen to some Fought Down mp3ís here, and get some t-shirts here, but why not just bypass these distractions and buy the album immediately?

*among tambourinists actually playing on this CD

Posted by Tim Blair at January 27, 2004 02:39 AM

Awesome. i'll look for it on Kazaa tonight.

Just kidding.

Posted by: hbchrist at January 27, 2004 at 05:31 AM

Sounds g-- HEY!!!

Posted by: 1972 at January 27, 2004 at 07:35 AM

Sounds great - I'll go buy it.

I had some harsh words for Ken here when he was in Sydney & tried his hand at blog commenting - Ken you're a hell of a good muso, but crap on blog comments. Since you are genuinely good at your trade I apologise for bagging you back then.

I only wish I was any good at my trade ...

Posted by: Robert Blair at January 28, 2004 at 12:51 PM