Night of the Shooting Stars

Review by Rusty W. Spell

The only word I can think of to describe the cover is cheesy, and maybe that's why I like it. Rock star poses, in shadow, complete with instruments. Oh, and stars. It's taken me over a year to finally write this review. I used to be more of a person who kept up with bands on the internet (when it was that new-fangled thing), who studied lore and read fan interpretations of lyrics and all that jazz. I don't really think I'm that anymore, but I still like writing reviews, so maybe there are still some folks out there who are currently like I used to be, and that means they're reading this.

The album stars off slow and deliberate, in the best way, with "These Days Are Good for the Canadian Conservative Youth Party Alliance." Even with direction. The song goes on a good long while, so that when it's been running a while you say to yourself, "Is this still on?" Not a bad thing. There's certainly a Lenny in its Kravitz.

I like this version of "Song of the Garden." I liked the first one too. It works by itself, out of the context of the children's album (as do probably all of the songs themselves from that album--maybe they work even better that way). It's fun to sing along to the "Dah dah dah dah"s. And the ending (with no track spacer) transitions nicely to the next song, so that it feels like the album is just chugging along nice, which it is so far.

"Mubletypeg" is probably the best song on the record. It's a perfect showcase for Dave Bidini's voice, an interestingly good voice I've always thought. Little things like the way he says "dot" and "sister." This song is just great all around: the guitar licks, the buildups and dynamics, the backing vocals, the bridge. I can't listen to this song without pretending I'm honking the horn at the appropriate time. This song is IT.

"P.I.N." is nice. Fantasy Island references are always welcome. I'm not sure if "Juction Foil Ball" is as good as the one from The Nighlines Sessions. Probably not. Or maybe it just works better there.

"We Went West" is a great song. It's a very sweet song, the sweetest part being, "I find the tightest knit live in the open spaces, and we're still tightly knit though years have come and gone." It's another song that seems long in a good way.

Unfortunately, after "We Went West," the album kind of fades out for me, as if all the good stuff were crammed at the front. There's some high points here and there, like bits of "Here To There To You," and "Remain Calm" is pleasant enough, and bits of "Satan Is the Whistler" (which seems to be posing as album-closing epic, but doesn't reach the heights that others from previous albums did). But mostly the ending just makes decent background music, and this time I find myself asking "Is this still on?" in reference to the album, but not in a good way. It's why I don't listen to this album as much, and maybe why I took so long to review it. The process is usually this: put the album on, hear the first few songs, wonder why I don't put it on more, then realize why. None of the songs are bad. The Rheostatics are just too good of musicians and writers to make anything horrible, but they are just kind of dull to me. Maybe it's my personal stupid taste. Don't kill me.

Anyway, the album does pick up a little at the very end, since I like the funky vocoded vocals and the whistling and screaming and stuff. Mostly, though, I just put on the Martin Tielli solo album which came out at around the same time and listen to it, since I dig it more better.

I remember two different meteor showers. For one, I made a fake documentary of me looking for shooting stars, and for the other I made a real "documentary" of me lying on my back with my girlfriend and a cam-corder, hoping to capture some streak or another. The first one was better, but I don't regret making the second.

Copyright (c) Dec 2002 - Apr 2005 by The USA Rheostatics Page