Pat McCurdy is on target with one of his best (February 2, 1992)

The Milwaukee Journal February 2, 1992

Pat McCurdy is on target with one of his best
Pat McCurdy with the La Dolce Trio - "The Sound of Music"

by Thor Christensen

Pat McCurdy — Milwaukee's godfather of power pop — has delivered one of the best albums of his long career.

Working with the crack La Dolce Trio (guitarist John Sieger, bassist Mike Sieger and former Confidentials drummer George Wood), the singer-guitarist balances his sardonic lyrics against a furnace of invigorating pop rock.

A few of the 16 songs are filler ("Drive in Reverse" and "Life's Too Short"), and McCurdy spends so much time sharpening his satirical wit that the serious love songs ("Light the Light," "Long Goodbye") come off like non-sequiturs. Yet the bulk of "The Sound of Music" is vintage McCurdy: revved-up Beatles pop with an irony chaser.

The sad sacks who populate McCurdy's songs try to cope with life by spinning elaborate fantasies: "Hercules Unchained" is a rabid love letter to a woman who doesn't know the guy exists; the narrator in "We Made Love" depicts himself and his gal as jet-setting miracle-workers (curing cancer, overthrowing dictators), who celebrate each victory with a hearty workout on the mattress.

McCurdy also shines at twisted social commentary. In "God," a sarcastic take-off of Lee Greenwood's jingoist "God Bless the U.S.A.," he depicts the Almighty as a racist, Chevy-driving Republican who loves the convenience of Handi-Wipes and hates paying taxes.

"The Sound of Music" can be incessantly goofy at times — the singer asks us to imagine a buck naked George and Barbara Bush whooping it up in "Nude Party" — but McCurdy's got the hooks and the voice to make even the silliest moments seem relevant.

"The Sound of Music" is available at Mainstream, Atomic Records, East Side Compact Disc, Earwaves, and The Exclusive Co. McCurdy performs Wednesday and Thursday at the Celebrity Club, Friday at Virginia's and Saturday at the Tamarack.
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