Rick Bain has no doubt been soaking up the same scuzzy Stones and early Pink Floyd influences that former tourmates and fellow Portland, OR, friends the Dandy Warhols, not to mention former Portland residents the Brian Jonestown Massacre, have already dirtied themselves in for many a moon. Unfortunately, when compared to anything the Dandys or the BJM had dropped in recent years, Crooked Autumn Sun is a much murkier affair, a dishwater-dull collection of semi-psychedelic retro rock lacking the vital ingredients necessary to float to the top. The real problem with this CD -- aside from the lack of tunes and the occasional metallic guitar flare-up, which is oddly out of place at times -- is the way it was mixed (the entire album was written, recorded, and produced by Bain in just four weeks, in order for his band to be able to join the Dandys on tour). Bain's loamy baritone is either buried six feet under or awash in too much echo, and the drums are too prominently upfront where they really just need to be solidly keeping the beat in the background. Most of the album seems to center on the somewhat-strained relationship between Bain and his wife, Amy (the two had been bandmates in Spin Jupiter Spin, which featured current Dandy Warhols drummer Brent DeBoer). Bain writes about DeBoer in the inspired "Rapture" and takes a sarcastic jab at the Portland music scene with "Linear High," which seems to work the best overall, but at track 9, it comes much too late to save this one's (lack of) soul. The last track, "Amber Waves of Grain," ends with seven minutes of dead air before a couple minutes of musical tomfoolery.
Crooked Autumn Sun Review
by Bryan Thomas