Professor Nothing

Articulation in the highest degree
A familiar presence on my TV
Acceptable presentation for the powers that be
Transparent bullshit for everyone to see

Your expertise is sorely lacking
Yet it doesn’t stop your relentless attacking
Of those who oppose dangerous fracking
And those who support honourable hacking

It’s not your place to question and doubt
Your worship of power is completely devout
You hammer dissent with a ferocious shout
As we collectively roll our eyes throughout

You sound real smart but that’s an illusion
A professor of nothing bordering on delusion
A willing conspirator acting in collusion
With sinister forces who thrive on confusion

But a challenge is coming and you should be scared
None of your ilk is going to be spared
The future is brighter for those who are prepared
To slice up the nonsense of the morally impaired

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, January 20, 2014
9:10 p.m.

Advertisements
Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm  Comments (1)  

Availability Of 2014 Oscar-Nominated Films On DVD & Blu-ray

The secret’s out.  The nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and the only question that matters is this:  how many of the nominated films are available on home video?

I’m glad you asked.  What follows is the complete list of this year’s Oscar-nominated feature films in alphabetical order.  Beside each title is either an upcoming home video release date, an upcoming theatrical release date or the much happier revelation that you can see that particular film right now either on DVD & Blu-ray or at your local cinema.  As always, when more information becomes available, I’ll update the list with the latest home video & theatrical release dates where appropriate.

In the meantime, happy screenings!  The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 2.

The Act Of Killing – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

All Is Lost – February 11

Alone Yet Not Alone – To be determined

American Hustle – March 18

August: Osage County – April 8

Before Midnight – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Blue Jasmine – January 21

The Book Thief – March 11

The Broken Circle Breakdown – March 11

Captain Phillips – January 21

The Croods – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Cutie And The Boxer – February 4

Dallas Buyers Club – February 4

Despicable Me 2 – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Dirty Wars – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Ernest & Celestine – June 10

Frozen – March 18

The Grandmaster – March 4

Gravity – February 25

The Great Beauty – March 25

The Great Gatsby – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Her – May 13

The Hunt – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug – April 8

Inside Llewyn Davis – March 11

The Invisible Woman – April 15

Iron Man 3 – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa – January 28

The Lone Ranger – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Lone Survivor – June 3

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – March 18

The Missing Picture – Opening in theatres March 19, then June 10 on DVD & Blu-ray

Nebraska – February 25

Omar – June 10

Philomena – April 15

Prisoners – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Saving Mr. Banks – March 18

The Square – Now playing on Netflix

Star Trek Into Darkness – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

12 Years A Slave – March 4

20 Feet From Stardom – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

The Wind Rises – November 18

The Wolf Of Wall Street – March 25

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 16, 2014
2:43 p.m.

UPDATE:  Amazon has changed the home video release date for American Hustle.  Originally, it was scheduled to come out on March 1, the day before the Oscar ceremony.  Now it will be available on March 18.  (In retrospect, I probably should have been a bit more skeptical of that first date which now sounds like it was a mistake.  After all, how many movies are issued on disc on a Saturday?)  Also, Inside Llewyn Davis has been pencilled in for a March 11 DVD/Blu-ray release.  However, like American Hustle, you can still see it in theatres for the time being.  Both changes have been made to the original list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
4:44 p.m.

UPDATE 2:  Saving Mr. Banks is coming to video March 18.  For the time being, you can still catch it in theatres.  The change has been added to the original list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
2:02 p.m.

UPDATE 3:  Leonardo DiCaprio’s fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, The Wolf Of Wall Street, is coming to DVD & Blu-ray March 25.  In the meantime, you can still see it in theatres.  The home video release date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
4:32 p.m.

UPDATE 4:  The Motion Picture Academy has disqualified Alone Yet Not Alone for Best Original Song so it has been crossed off the list.  However, if you still want to see it, look for it in theatres June 13.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 30, 2014
1:44 a.m.

UPDATE 5:  August: Osage County is coming to DVD & Blu-ray April 8 but for the time being you can still see it in theatres.  Philomena’s release date has been pushed back from March 4 to April 15.  These changes have been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, January 31, 2014
10:02 p.m.

UPDATE 6:  Forget what I said about Philomena.  It actually is coming out on March 4.  Stupid Amazon.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 3, 2014
11:16 p.m.

UPDATE 7:  Although no home video release date has been scheduled for The Square just yet, it’s been available on Netflix since January 17, almost a full month as of this writing.  My apologies for not realizing this as quickly as I should have.  I’m an old school DVD guy so this was completely off my radar.  This belated revelation has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 16, 2014
6:18 p.m.

UPDATE 8:  The second installment of The Hobbit series, The Desolation of Smaug, will be released on home video April 8.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 23, 2014
2:36 a.m.

UPDATE 9:  Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut, The Invisible Woman, will be out on DVD & Blu-ray April 15.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 1, 2014
3:00 a.m.

UPDATE 10:  Philomena’s home video release date has been changed yet again.  According to Amazon, it will be available April 15 after all, as previously noted back in late January.  (For a time, it looked like it was coming out March 4, the same day as 12 Years A Slave.)  Here’s hoping there are no further changes from here on out.  The correct date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, March 2, 2014
4:48 p.m.

UPDATE 11:  Spike Jonze’s Her is out May 13.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, March 14, 2014
3:28 p.m.

UPDATE 12:  Lone Survivor will be available on home video June 3.  Meanwhile, Best Foreign Film nominee The Missing Picture will be available on DVD & Blu-ray June 10.  (However, if you can’t wait that long, you can see it in select cinemas starting March 19.)  These dates have been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, March 14, 2014
4:38 p.m.

UPDATE 13:  Speaking of June 10, that’s also the release date of another Best Foreign Film nominee, Omar.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
1:26 a.m.

UPDATE 14:  The Wind Rises finally has a home video release date.  Expect it November 18th.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, August 30, 2014
7:07 p.m.

Published in: on January 16, 2014 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Reexamining The Influence Of The Golden Globes On The Oscars

Five years ago in this space, I asked, Are The Golden Globes Really A Barometer For The Oscars?  The answer in 2009:  hardly.

But what about in the past half-decade?  Is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association more in tune now with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences than they ever were before?  Let’s go through the last five Golden Globe and Academy Award ceremonies (2009 – 2013) and find out:

2009

There was no stopping Slumdog Millionaire.  The highly acclaimed adaptation of the Vikas Swarup novel, Q&A, was nominated for ten Oscars and ended up snagging eight.  At the Golden Globes, which doesn’t honour documentarians, editors, costumers, set designers, or any other technical wizards, it won all four awards it was up for:  Best Picture Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay (there’s no separation for original works and adaptations) and Best Original Score.  Millionaire won half of its Oscars in those same categories.  (Writer Simon Beaufoy took home Best Adapted Screenplay.)

The Best Supporting Actor Globe was given to the late Heath Ledger for his brilliantly sadistic Joker in The Dark Knight and Best Animated Feature went to the Pixar blockbuster, WALL-E.  Both would go on to repeat those victories at the Academy Awards.

And that’s where the supposed “influence” of the Globes ended in 2009.  Bruce Springsteen’s The Wrestler, the moving Best Original Song winner at the GG’s, didn’t even get a Oscar nomination.  Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho won the naked man statue instead.  (Curiously, it wasn’t up for a Globe.  In fact, none of the songs from that movie were nominated.)  Mickey Rourke, who snatched the Best Actor Drama Globe for his work in that same film, lost the Best Actor Oscar to Sean Penn (Milk).

Kate Winslet pulled a rare Golden Globe deuce when she won Best Actress Drama and Best Supporting Actress bowling trophies for her performances in Revolutionary Road and The Reader, respectively.  Although she also won the Best Actress Oscar, curiously it was for The Reader.  (She wasn’t even nominated for Revolutionary Road.)  And the Best Foreign Film Oscar went to the Japanese film, Departures, not the Israeli Golden Globe winner, Waltz With Bashir.  (Departures wasn’t nominated for the Globe.)

Add it all up and the Golden Globes were a non-factor in five Oscar categories.

2010

Two former spouses battled it out at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards in 2010.  At the former, James Cameron skunked his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow in the top two categories.  Avatar won Best Picture Drama and the Canadian-born filmmaker won Best Director.

It was a different story at the Academy Awards.  The Hurt Locker was named Best Picture and Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director.

As far as the acting categories were concerned, the Globes and the Oscars were more in sync.  Best Actor Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Best Actress Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), and Best Supporting Actress Mo’Nique (Precious) scored two trophies a piece for each of their acclaimed performances.

That being said, Up In The Air won the Best Screenplay Globe but lost the Oscar to Precious for Best Adapted Screenplay.  And the Globe’s Best Foreign Film, The White Ribbon from Germany, was dethroned by the Argentinian picture, The Secret In Their Eyes, at the Academy Awards.  Once again, the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner wasn’t nominated in the same category at the Golden Globes.

A slight improvement over 2009, the Globes failed to match the winners in four Oscar categories.

2011

It was the story of Facebook vs. a royal stutter in 2011.  At the Globes, The Social Network won Best Picture Drama and David Fincher won Best Director.  But the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director went to The King’s Speech and Tom Hooper, respectively.

While the Hollywood Foreign Press Association named Burlesque’s You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me its Best Original Song, the Motion Picture Academy went with Randy Newman’s We Belong Together from Toy Story 3.  The Burlesque track wasn’t even in the running for the Oscar.

These three categories aside, there were no other notable differences between the two ceremonies.

2012

The Artist took home Best Picture Musical or Comedy at the 2012 Globes while becoming only the second silent film to win the Best Picture Oscar that same year.  Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor Musical or Comedy Globe and the Best Actor Oscar.

However, Martin Scorsese won the Best Director Globe for Hugo while The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius snatched the Best Director Oscar.

Meanwhile, the Best Original Song Globe went to Masterpiece from Madonna’s film, W.E., which didn’t even get an Oscar nomination.  Man Or Muppet?, the very cute song from The Muppets, won the Best Original Song Academy Award.  Oddly, it wasn’t nominated for a Globe.  Nor was Rio from the animated film of the same name.  In turn, none of the Globe Best Original Song nominees were able to get on Oscar’s shortlist.

Once again, these were the only Globe categories that led to different Oscar winners.

2013

In what must have been a fluke, the only Golden Globe winner to not be rewarded with an Oscar last year was Best Director Ben Affleck.  Although he directed Argo to Best Picture wins at both the Globes and the Academy Awards he was surprisingly snubbed in the Best Director Oscar category.  He seemed like a sure bet considering the fact that he ultimately went on to win the Director’s Guild award, a more reliable indicator of future Oscar success than the Globes.  (Interestingly, Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), both Globe nominees, were also rejected for Oscar consideration.)

Ang Lee ultimately benefited from all of this winning his second Best Director Oscar for overseeing Life Of Pi.  This marks the fourth straight year the Best Director Golden Globe winner has failed to win the Oscar for the same movie.

In the last five years, this has been the only time one could credibly argue that the Globes correctly foreshadowed the vast majority of major Oscar victors.

Now that the 2014 ceremony is in the books, can the Globes actually live up to its mostly undeserved reputation as an Oscar warm-up act?  We’ll find out for sure at next month’s Academy Awards.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
7:19 p.m.

CORRECTION:  Actually, the Academy Awards are happening in March this year, not February.  My apologies for this needless blunder.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 16, 2014
3:52 p.m.

CORRECTION 2:  Well, this is embarrassing.  I’ve just noticed that I wrongly stated that Simon Beaufoy won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for penning Slumdog Millionaire.  In actuality, he won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for using the Vikas Swarup novel Q & A as inspiration.  Even more embarrassing?  I bought that book for my mother a few years ago for her birthday.  Anyway, I’ve corrected my dumb boo-boo in the original text.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, January 10, 2015
11:51 p.m.

Published in: on January 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm  Comments (2)  

12 Years A Slave

(For the men at Gitmo.)

12 years a slave in this hell on Earth
12 years a ghost awaiting a rebirth

12 years a slave because you are brown
12 years of learning not to make a sound

12 years a slave in spite of the truth
12 years of mourning the loss of your youth

12 years a slave in an endless ordeal
12 years of torture for refusing your meal

12 years a slave in this house of lies
12 years of resisting the urge to despise

12 years a slave of an empire of pain
12 years of propaganda poisoning your brain

12 years a slave, confined like a dog
12 years of squealing like an agitated hog

12 years a slave deprived of basic rights
12 years of denigration and many sleepless nights

12 years a slave and a victim of hypocrisy
12 years of asking, “how is this democracy?”

12 years a slave while the world looks away
12 years of tomorrow bleeding into today

12 years a slave of a horrid regime
12 years of wishing it was all a bad dream

12 years a slave while many are now free
12 years of wondering, “will it ever be me?”

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, January 12, 2014
11:08 p.m.

Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 11:08 pm  Comments (1)  

From The Published Archives: Dirty Penny’s Sage Against The Machine

Two weeks after my edited review of Autobodies’ Rearranger first surfaced on MonkeyBiz.ca, this assessment of Dirty Penny’s Sage Against The Machine made its debut.  (The Sage in this case being Mahatma Gandhi whose face is on the cover, a still of which was included in the original posting.)  This was the second of four critiques that would finally appear on the site after months of uncertainty, as documented in that first link.  (Two more reviews of The Unborn and Morrissey’s Years Of Refusal would follow two months later, as would a fifth, Jennifer’s Body.)  By the way, this Dirty Penny is not to be confused with this Dirty Penny.

Posted on April 11, 2010, it is slightly shorter than the version you’re about to read.  I was perfectly happy with what I submitted, so it was a little disappointing to see lines get clipped or chopped off completely from the finished version.  (A minor complaint, it should be noted.)  Some have been restored for this reposting.  I hope you enjoy it.

Dirty Penny’s Sage Against the Machine

Posted on April 11 2010 under Arts & Entertainment
By Dennis Earl

“It’s a big, long part where I don’t do anything,” says the deep-voiced Jason Cavener during a rare moment of lucidity.

It’s an ad-lib heard two minutes and one second into a song called Just One Finger, track nine from Sage Against The Machine, the second album from his indie band, Dirty Penny.

Based in Toronto, this gruesome fivesome specialize in rocking out to the dumbest lyrics you’ll ever hear.  After his unexpected pronouncement, his bandmates continue on with a groove reminiscent of The Tragically Hip’s So Hard Done By.  It’s 40 seconds of bliss.

Then, Cavener starts singing again.  Oh dear.

It’s a shame because almost all the music on this album is highly listenable.  The unfortunately titled Dick Opportunity has a Franz Ferdinand vibe to it.  Hot Cocoa has a solid arrangement that sounds like The Rolling Stones in their later years.  If I Wuz A Cat imagines The Hip channelling Sonic Youth.  Declined wouldn’t be out of place in a They Might Be Giants setlist.

If only the singing and the lyrics were equally as good.

Cavener’s vocal approach is mostly maddening and rarely tuneful.  He offers his worst performance on the album’s opener, Magic Tricks.  In a croaky, almost self-pitying tone, he describes an afterlife involving wizardry, friends with flowers growing out of their noggins and “swimming pools of lovers that you had”.

Obviously attempting to be John Lennon at his most surrealistic, the result is more baffling and moronic than transcendent.  By the end, we’re led to believe that these were just scenes from an unnamed movie.  Let’s hope it never gets made.

Atahualpa, the tenth song, makes even less sense.  Plus, the vocals are just terrible.  Not even the mostly effective arrangement (which, sadly, grows weary itself after a while) can save this four-minute nonsense.

Cavener never sounds original when he sings.  Throughout the album, he alternates from sounding like dreadful imitations of Robert Smith of The Cure and Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears to an unsexy Mick Jagger, a less confident Dave Grohl in a lower, quieter register and even that guy from Real Life who sang Send Me An Angel in the ’80s.

Time and time again, he lets down his talented bandmates with lacklustre results.

Increasingly desperate for your attention, Dirty Penny aims to shock.  Lady Nurse None, which begins and ends with Under Pressure-style finger snaps, spins a delightful tale about overworked hospital employees who are eager to shag poodles and bugs instead of human beings.  Hot Cocoa is about calling your mom while in the middle of preparing for self-gratification.  The meandering Declined ends with a disturbing image involving Catholic priests.

Since they have nothing terribly meaningful, coherent or even funny to say, Dirty Penny frequently go the disgusting route.  How very sad.  The only bright spot is a rather pretty acoustic reworking of Pretty Boy Floyd, a 70-year-old Woody Guthrie song.  You can tell it’s a cover because the lyrics are good and Cavener dials down his creaky vocals considerably.  A good decision on his part.

Could this band succeed with a different singer and a more serious lyrical approach?  Considering the plethora of bands fighting for attention these days, it’s very hard to say for sure.

What is certain is that Sage Against The Machine (love that title) is easily one of the worst albums I’ve ever heard, despite its entertaining musical arrangements – and putting the late Mahatma Gandhi on the cover doesn’t change that fact.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, January 4, 2014
7:38 p.m.

Published in: on January 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm  Comments (1)  

From The Published Archives: Autobodies’ Rearranger

It was the summer of 2009.  My Employment Hamilton job counsellor had just gotten off the phone with a contact and was eager to tell me the details.  During a meeting with him in his office, he got in direct touch with a woman from CCMA (Community Centre for Media Arts), a local non-profit.  Knowing I’m a writer, he asked her about this website CCMA created, MonkeyBiz.ca.  She told him what they were looking for and after hanging up, he relayed that information to me.  (They wanted people to review CDs, mostly.)

At the time, the name didn’t sound too familiar.  But when I went online later that same day to check it out, I remembered.

Eight years earlier, when I got my first PC, I found the site through a Google search while looking for writing jobs.  Two things turned me off of it right away.  One, they didn’t pay and two, they wanted short articles (nothing longer than 600 words).

But in 2009, with little hope of getting a paying gig of any persuasion, I reconsidered.  I got in touch with my counsellor’s contact and made arrangements to come to the MonkeyBiz offices downtown.  While there, I picked up a couple of CDs from a small pile she had (there were only independent Canadian acts to choose from), took them home, start listening to them and ultimately drafted reviews for each.

Not long afterwards, both assessments were ready for submission, so not knowing any better I emailed them to my counsellor’s contact.  She was very enthusiastic about my writing but, as it turns out, not very enthusiastic about getting them published.  Every so often, after not hearing back from her, I would fire off an email to find out what the hold-up was.  I never did get an honest answer, when I got any kind of response at all.

By 2010, with the frustration rising, my job counsellor told me to email the editor.  She replied with some startling news:  my contact had quit.  During my next meeting with my counsellor, he confirmed what he had secretly known for some time.  When exactly was he going to tell me?  I was greatly annoyed by this but never let on.

Thankfully, the editor already knew who I was.  Besides trying in vain to get my entertainment stuff on MonkeyBiz, I started a brief three-month run as a volunteer writer for Green Venture, a local, non-profit environmental organization in September 2009.  The first article I wrote for them was basically a thinly veiled press release for some Car Care event they were doing at the time.  It was posted on MonkeyBiz but curiously yanked after only a week online.  (I say curiously because other outdated articles were still available to be perused, at least until late 2012.)

Anyway, when I enquired about these two reviews (including a couple more that were submitted to the woman I met that also disappeared down the Internet rabbit hole), the editor said she never got them.  My counsellor’s contact never passed them on to her.  Thankfully, she expressed interest in seeing them and requested I resubmit all four directly to her which I did promptly.

Happy to receive them, she told me they would be “published on our next publishing cycle”.  Well, not quite.  As it turns out, she would post them bit by bit over a multi-week period which, to her credit, she later said was the actual plan.  I had no problem with that, though.  After waiting more than half a year to see my work surface publicly, I was relieved any of it was coming out at all.

My very first MonkeyBiz posting was this March 28, 2010 review of Rearranger by the independent duo, Autobodies.  Sadly, the review as seen was not exactly what I submitted.  My reference to the two singers’ harmonies paling in comparison to The Beach Boys was excised as was an entire section about the song, Yer Bird.  Also cut was a reference to Fox News broadcaster Bill O’Reilly’s infamous “We’ll do it live!” freakout from 1996.  For this Published Archives reposting, all of these unnecessary removals have been restored.

Since all of my MonkeyBiz reviews are no longer on there (the site went through a makeover sometime in the second half of 2012 which involved dropping a whole slew of reviews, interviews and articles from various other writers) and they obviously have no further interest in working with me (it’s been almost two years since the last email), beginning a year ago I’ve been gradually republishing them here making changes where appropriate.  Only two more remain after this Autobodies review.  Look for my review of Dirty Penny’s Sage Against The Machine shortly.

Autobodies – Rearranger

Posted on March 28 2010 under Arts & Entertainment
By Dennis Earl

At various points during Rearranger, the fifth album from Autobodies, you wonder what exactly frontman Kent Eliuk is trying to say.

No matter how many times you listen to the 13 tracks that feature his vocals (there’s also an instrumental), a fair number of his lyrics are hard to decipher.  (A lyric sheet may have cleared things up).

It doesn’t help matters that he evokes a less confident Thurston Moore when he sings.  Not a gifted warbler by any stretch, Eliuk (who recorded and mixed the album in the basement of his Toronto home) struggles on each song.

It’s too bad because for the most part the music he’s made with German-born drummer Jan Ladisich is quite good.  If only this were purely an instrumental CD.

Submarined is easily the best song here which, unfortunately, isn’t saying very much.  It features a lovely, slowed down acoustic riff that you’d expect to hear from Supergrass.  Thankfully, despite a distractingly unnecessary xylophone part in the last minute and a repetitive one-note bassline in the first, the guitar playing is strong enough to warrant multiple listens.  I wish I could say the same for the rest of Rearranger.

Eliuk alternates between singing off-key to simply talking his way through the material.  His wife, Joy, backs him up on a few tracks and they clearly lack harmonic cohesion.  The Beach Boys, they’re not.

The closest he comes to delivering a passable vocal happens during Yer Bird about a betrayed man not buying his woman’s change of heart.  He’d rather have a pet bird instead of being burned again.

The arrangement, clearly evoking the acoustic guitar work in Love Will Tear Us Apart, is the prettiest on the album despite the unevenness of the singing.  A stronger vocalist would’ve made the track an album standout.

Wind Chill, the CD’s finale, has an earthy, souful feel thanks mainly to a simple yet effective organ part and disciplined drumming.  Catwatch has a scrappy, unpolished vibe and features an end-of-song electric guitar solo that Billy Corgan could have laid down.  Some of the acoustic work on Airspace is Jam-like.  Unfortunately, each of these songs are ruined by Eliuk’s unsophisticated vocals.

Clearly realizing his limitations, he’s made sure to bury himself so far down in the mix at times that he’s hard to follow and consistently understand.  Sadly, even if we could hear his every word, his lacklustre performance remains a problem.

When you do understand what he’s saying, the results are sometimes silly.  On the two-minute Old Smile, he sings the hokey line, “love is something to believe in when it’s something real” with such earnestness you wonder if he’s deluded himself into believing he’s a deep thinker.

On the title song, he offers lines like “your voice is like a jar of paint” and “your lips are like a parade in a small town”.  As Bill O’Reilly once put it, “I don’t know what that means!”

Autobodies, for the most part, are fine instrumentalists but they need a new singer, more compelling lyrics and a professional mixer.  Rearranger provides the evidence.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, January 3, 2014
9:51 p.m.

Published in: on January 3, 2014 at 9:51 pm  Comments (2)  

Your Courage Is In Short Supply

It’s so much easier to live among the blind
There are no threats to your peace of mind
Collectively swallowing the lies being fed
Never refuting a single one they said
But new revelations are thinning the herd
Maintaining your position is patently absurd
Are you really afraid to look me in the eye?
Let’s face it, your courage is in short supply

There’s too much comfort in denying what you hear
It protects you from the unpleasantness and harrowing fear
You choose not to listen to their dying screams
Doing so would interrupt your hallucinatory dreams
Truth has a way of uprooting the corrupt
As it irritates the guilty with its power to disrupt
As this historical moment passes you by
Let’s face it, your courage is in short supply

You scorn the outspoken while remaining mute
About the crimes being committed in this ongoing dispute
It takes no effort on your part to side with the liars
When you overlook their role in igniting these fires
Silence is your friend in the midst of this decline
Today’s another day and you feel just fine
Speaking out on those who excessively spy?
Let’s face it, your courage is in short supply

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, January 3, 2014
12:20 a.m.

Published in: on January 3, 2014 at 12:20 am  Comments (1)