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CD Reviews


"Happy Accidents"

For the review click here.

Another "Happy Accidents" Review

reprinted from a review by Michael Bloom from the Boston Phoenix


The Rascal Reporters may be the most unlikely musical amalgamation you could run across. They're two composers/collaborators from suburban Detroit, not the place you'd expect to spawn progressive rockers. And perhaps that's why the band doesn't "play out," or labor to rehearse "performance" versions of its material—and why it acquires its sidemen by mail order, as I will explain in a moment. The Reporters' metier is the four-track living-room studio, but they don't let their homebrew circumstances excuse slapdash work or impede the flow of imagination.

Each side of the Rascal Reporters' second album, Happy, Accidents (Hebbardesque), offers an extended suite by one Reporter. The three parts of Steve Gore's "Weigh In on the Way-Out," on side one, present the same rather elaborate melody played in a different style; then each part explores it. This development is raucous and witty —Gore shares some of Frank Zappa's twisted affection for the varieties of American pop, such as the cocktail jazz in part two, which is entitled "The Chalky Substance Variations" On the other hand, some of the inventions in the first section, "Pilgrim's Pride," recall Stravinsky's rhythmic permutations. (Both Reporters started out as drummers, so their impulses naturally turn to rhythms. On Happy Accidents, each plays guitar, bass, melodica, and lots of keyboards as well as drumming.)

Side two, Steve Kretzmer's "Trucks," is, if anything, even denser. The tunes in the first part ''Thunderstruck,'' all but trip over one another; at least the second, "Moonstruck," which incorporates a few of the same fragments, is taken at a more stately tempo. Here too there is a hearty sense of humor, as can be seen from the punning titles; the abrupt transitions contribute to the general goofiness, along with the synthesizer honks and uproarious marches. With its chordal intricacies, metrical modulations, and continual air of playfulness, this music descends from Soft Machine, and especially drummer-turned-keyboardist Robert Wyatt.

There are other inheritors of the Softs' spiritual heritage contributing to Happy Accidents. The guest performers come from all over the reap; some of the most distinguished include Guy Segers, from Belgium's Univers Zero, playing a slippery bass melody; Nick I Didkovsky, guitarist/mathematician from New York's Doctor Nerve; and Dave Newhouse, erstwhile composer and multi-instrumentalist with the Muffins, who appears all over Happy Accidents from his home studio in Albuquerque. So many holdouts for progressive rock own four-track technology that the Rascal Reporters can make records-as-correspondence-art: musicians mail the master tapes back and forth, overdubbing in comfort at home.

"We're God"

Review republished with permission from Eurock catalog.

<<<<<RASCAL REPORTERS: WE’RE GOD: This one really flashes me back to the good old days as The Rascals were one of the first bands ever offered by Eurock in the era of self-produced cassettes. This newly restored reissue of their classic 1980 debut recording once again reminds me of how great music can be when it’s done in the pure creative spirit. WE’RE GOD is a strange hybrid of Canterbury prog and RIO fusion filtered through the lens of Middle America. Messrs. Gore and Kretzmer not only could compose and play, but had a twisted sense of humor so the whole affair comes off a bit like a pre-K Frank Zappa. Fun to listen to and suprisingly STILL progressive musically today.>>>>>