Jack Logan's true debut album (1994's Bulk was a two-disc set of demos recorded over the course of a decade), 1996's Mood Elevator finds the swimming pool motor repairman/part-time comic book artist backed by a full band, the aptly-named Liquor Cabinet, led by long-time co-conspirator Kelly Keneipp. All of the songs this time are co-written, either with Keneipp or guitarist Dave Phillips, and Logan wisely limits himself to vocals. Bulk had shown that Logan really wasn't much of a melodicist or guitarist, but his vocal and lyrical gifts are outstanding, and they're actually sharper here than they had been on Bulk. Tunes like the opening "Teach Me the Rules" and the mysterious "Ladies and Gentlemen" are lyrically evocative and musically memorable, and the full-band arrangements make this a richer-sounding album than the sometimes too Spartan Bulk. Most impressively, Keneipp and the rest of Liquor Cabinet are able to keep the "friends hanging out and playing in the garage" vibe that made Bulk so refreshing. An unpretentious but deeply satisfying album, Mood Elevator sounds like a more relaxed Wilco or Guided By Voices with a good editor and a far better work ethic. It didn't get the press Bulk did, but, in the long run, it's a better album.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason