R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner: Make It Be
Falkner's arranging here is breathtaking. Many bases are touched along the way. "Another Day Slips Away" crosses 1980s Anglophilic instrumentation with a bit of Joe Jackson bombast. In "That's Fine, What Time?", Moore speaks a monotone over programmed electronica, keyboards and drum machines of "the prospect for growth at the end of life," and "I accept the risk of nocturnal emissions." Loud rock guitars and power chords make a steamroller out of "I am the Best for You," in which Moore shouts the verses and sings the choruses. Falkner also sings some of Moore's tunes as in "Play Myself Some Music," in which he explores playing LPs and trying to pretend "I did not lose you." And so it goes.
Lest anyone forget that Moore is the progeny of Nashville-based, first-call bassist Bob Moore, who worked with everyone from Elvis Presley to The Boston Pops to Bob Dylan, the pair thrown in a fairly straight recording of Huey "Piano" Smith's NOLA novelty, "Don't You Just Know."
Sustaining this experiment over 18 tracks is too much to ask and cuts like "Passed Away Today," drift into indolence and directionless noodling. But everything here is short, cut into small bites, which effectively combats the excess Moore can slide into when he's by himself. Overall, a very listenable partnership, one that shows how experimental Falkner can be and how conventional Moore's music is when actual arrangements are applied.