R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner: Make It Be

At first glance the pairing of R. Stevie Moore (right), the Nashville born/New Jersey-residing DIY legend who over the past several decades has released literally hundreds of cassettes—and, to be fair, some records he actually worked on—and Jason Falkner (left), the always brilliant, sometimes cranky, LA pop auteur behind Three O'Clock, Jellyfish and The Grays (with Jon Brion), a couple of great solo records, and contributions to records by Beck, Aimee Mann, and AIR, seems fairly odd. But once you listen to Make It Be, these two triangular pegs actually fit into their own unique space that's neither round not square. What might have been a collision is actually a meld. Moore's bizarre rantings, like the opener "I H8 PPL," whose title is shorthand for a chorus that just repeats "I hate people," become in Falkner's sharp- edged, hi-fi, power-pop world, a peppy up-tempo, if acerbic, pop tune.

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.

jporter's picture

But I really like it...I will definitely be looking into R Stevie Moore music...Thanks.