Press | McCurdy's 'Good Life' satisfying to commercial tastes (April 7, 1988)

The UWM Post April 7, 1988

McCurdy's 'Good Life' satisfying to commercial tastes

by Timothy W. Maier

Make no mistake about it: Pat McCurdy and the Confidentials' long awaited ten song cassette, "The Good Life," has an intensity that motivates you to take a lakeshore cruise with the car windows rolled down and McCurdy's tunes cranked up.

The title track, "The Good Life," is a good example of the energy level of this band. While McCurdy sings the ironic lyrics with all the bitterness of a broken man, Douglass Knight;s punctuating lead guitar and the synchronized rhythm of Jim Whitfield's bass and George Wood's drums drives the point home.

Bitterness is no stranger to McCurdy. He has endured the falling through of an RCA record contract, a second place finish on "Star Search," and a snuffing by Summerfest officials who two years ago neglected to include McCurdy on the mainstage bill that featured supposedly the best Milwaukee musicians.

After so many brushes with "The Big Break," McCurdy has filled his tape with enough commercial bed to tease even the most skeptical critics.

The music is reminiscent of the Beatles dipped into the rough edges of the Kinks and touched by Billy Bragg's simplicity. McCurdy's music has all the commercialism of Huey Lewis only it pops with a meaning.

The talent of this band is sometimes dominated by McCurdys voice, but the Confidentials deserve credit for developing into one of the sharpest bands in Milwaukee.

If there is a drawback to the tape, it's the seriousness. It almost looks like McCurdy put together a tape with one in objective in mind -- to get that record contract. By doing so, McCurdy's frivolous side is missing.

The music that pokes fun at political leaders, religion and sex is left behind. It is a questionable compromise, though on understandable one, considering the wealth of his own material he has to choose from.

Still, it would have been a nice touch to have included songs like "Don't Touch My Sister" or "Am I The Only One That Thinks The President Is Dumb?" The tape's missing comical edge ironically brings to mind another McCurdy song, "Why Did You Have To Be So Serious?"

At times the tape is somewhere to eating apple pie without the ice cream, but that apple pie is still satisfying. McCurdy's acoustic solo performance of "Top of the World" will certainly alleviate the disappointment of some fans. The song -- which may be the best cut on the tape -- offers a stunning preview of possible stylistic directions McCurdy's music could take.

"The Good Life" and a bonus package of complete lyrics can be purchased for only $5 at any Pat McCurdy concert. Don't get in your car without it.