Tuesday, March 29, 2005

CD Review - The Complete Strategist: We Care


The Complete Strategist is the brainchild of Billy Kilgannon; a solo project that developed into a full fledged band. Kilgannon does vocals and plays guitar, Ryan O’Donnell plays guitar and also contributes vocals, Jeff Snyder plays the bass, and Brett Shenkman is on drums. They have an album coming out at the end of April titled We Care which should make lovers of indie-pop flavored fancies very happy.

It’s a Baskin-Robbins of influences on this gently melancholic disc. The lead off cut, “Pyrosis”, does indeed burn with a Shins like intensity as its suffused with trebly guitar interplay setting off Kilgannon’s just this side of almost annoying nasal vocals (think of They Might Be Giants and you’re getting warm). A warning – the song will burrow its way into your brain and you’ll find yourself singing snippets out of the blue. I created a bit of a stir this morning in a project meeting since singing is generally frowned upon. More low key mildly psychedelic musical notes are arranged for listening pleasure on the punny “Ilend” recalling Sixties rock at its breeziest. “Get Outta’ Town” chugs along like a lost Cars track running into Weezer and would be a big hit if radio wasn’t such a crap heap these days.

I don’t want to make the fellows in The Complete Strategist get down about the mainstream radio thing, there’s always hope of lightning striking like it did for one of the groups they sometimes resemble: Fountains Of Wayne who struck gold with “Stacy’s Mom”. This amorphous post modern style is practically a musical canon these days. The song “Ro Jo” even manages to put in a nod to The Police during the intro and outro. The lyrics are generally of the vague intellectual type though Kilgannon goes for the universal jugular on “Anyone Stupid Enough” which has this line, “anyone stupid enough, I can just humor them, they won’t understand” which is something we’ve all felt at some time or another. We Care is not a complete success. It’s probably just an old school rock and roll homage to the days when albums had ten songs at the most with at least four songs being filler, since there are four songs out of ten here that sound like clinkers to my ears.

The Complete Strategist reside in Eastern Pennsylvania and We Care will be released on Happy Home Records.

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