Friday, December 18, 2009

Andrew Vincent - Rotten Pear

There is a casualness to the songwriting on Rotten Pear. It's as if you were sitting with Andrew in a bar at a wobbly table and listening to him regale you with the world of Andrew. He only pauses from the storytelling long enough to take a swig on his cheap beer, and you have to strain to hear him at times as his chair squeaks when he spins on it. He tells his stories of love and loss and of the finer establishments where he drinks. The songs are straight ahead rock songs. So often songs like this are muddled with light-hearted keyboard lines or a tambourine throughout. Andrew avoids these and he keeps the instrumentation simple, with the focus on his laconic storytelling.

On "Going Out Tonight" Andrew wryly weaves a simple story for the girl that's left him with nice turns. 'Got a bottle of scotch that I ain't poured...cause I just spent two days in detox...i'm going out tonight'. Later he says to his woman in retrospect, 'I know I was a failure when I wasn't just a I spend my days tryin' to remember all the things I coulda' done different'

"Diane" is the state of the union of Andrew's world. Themes here include another woman leaving him for low ambition and the death of rock n' roll. 'They say kid hey things are always changin', you can't stop technology, well if things are always changin' please start explainin' why it seems like the same shit to me.' And then to Diane he says "You've written some new songs, you think they're pretty strong, definitely worth copywritin', I know some day you'll be famous, and I'll be watchin' you on my T.V, so hurry up and finish that new record and I'll see you on the OC.'

Diane is song #5. So at this point Andrew would have halted his story, grabbed a couple more beers and gone to the bathroom, which is half the reason to go, the other half is that he wants to check his messages and see if his girl called him back. So he returns to the table, lights a smoke, finishes a beer and continues telling you his story.

On "Ruffian" Andrew tells a dark story about a bad kid who beats on people and in turn gets beaten on. 'So will it be heaven or hell or just a prison cell because if you don't care just one bit, I worry how you will grow out of it'. Just an electric guitar with a clean tone and Andrew's earnest vocals paint a decidedly bleak outlook for the troubled ruffian.

Next is my favorite track. "Canadian Dream" is Andrew's answer to the American dream. This Canadian dream is for his friend who is leaving Canada and going elsewhere to chase his dreams. 'I got your postcard from out West, in big block letterers you wrote it's the frickin' best, because you hardly have to get up before noon, and your landlord don't care if you smoke up in your room.' Then the friends next contact. 'I got your phone call from out east, you say the school sucks but not the parties and there must a hundred bands playin' every night, and you're gonna start up on Wednesday at the open mic. And you are living the Canadian dream'. Then 'I got your letter from overseas you said it's taken a while but you've found yourself finally, you've seen so many people and things, so much that Montreal even seems boring.' His friend thinks that living anywhere but Canada is his dream. To which Andrew counters with his Canadian dream, 'I bought a house on the cheap part of town, it's got a small backyard, but the rest ain't too run down and with my tax refund I bought a big T.V, I've got plans for homes and gardens and watching hockey, and I am living the Canadian dream.'

Andrew would finish his last story and then promise you he'd be right back. He'd walk out the back door of the bar and disappear...until he shows up tomorrow night. Is that the Canadian dream?

A special thanks to Jon Bartlett from Kelp records. Check out their other acts if you like Andrew. I also have Jim Bryson's Kelp release Where The Buffalo Roams and like it a lot. I might review it in the near future.


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