Heidecker & Wood

Some Things Never Stay the Same

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Heidecker & Wood's debut album Starting from Nowhere seemed like a fun one-off, but Some Things Never Stay the Same shows the duo has more mileage in its Yacht Rock sendups. They chose to make this their "self-indulgent" album, an accurate and more or less bulletproof concept given the kind of music to which they're paying tribute. As the title hints, they go broadly funny with many of these songs, including the opening track "Cocaine." While it's not a cover of Eric Clapton's hit -- its bouncy pianos have more in common with Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" -- it has the same kind of glassy-eyed patina. Here and on the brashly literal "Getaway Man," Heidecker & Wood edge away from soft rock and toward homages/parodies of classic rockers who were huge in the '70s and trying to find their niche in the '80s. Along with Clapton and Zevon, on Some Things the duo nods to Randy Newman, Boz Scaggs, and Bruce Springsteen; "Salvation Street" is a sprawling, Boss-like anthem ready for a show of cigarette lighters. Sometimes Wood and Heidecker are a little too good at capturing the era's self-important musings and expansive soul-searching, as on the wonderfully ponderous "Sunday Man," where Heidecker wails "ain't there a prayer out there to save me?," but that's the point: the duo is at its best when making songs that sound like the stars' second-best. This joke doesn't necessarily play to people who aren't as versed in this music as Heidecker & Wood are, yet their deep knowledge of and affection for these styles still make the album entertaining instead of tedious. For those in the know, the fun is in how well they re-create these sounds, whether it's the way "Coming Home" builds from tender pianos to raspy throated anticipation; the way "This Is Life" captures Yacht Rock's dangerous side in its perfect fusion of Christopher Cross' "Ride Like the Wind" and the Doobie Brothers' "It Keeps You Running"; or the way the duo uses Aimee Mann equally well on the rowdy "Hurricane" and the literate, Nilsson-esque "Next Ten Years" (sample lyric: we didn't speak on the catamaran/The ocean spray filled in the blanks"). Ultimately, Some Things Never Stay the Same is a classic second album: it's not as consistent as Starting from Nowhere, but its highlights suggest Heidecker & Wood will deliver even more convincing and subtly funny songs next time.

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