3 stars (out of 5 stars)
By Tony BonyataTicklepenny Corner, a young four-piece band from Burlington, WI, are certainly easy enough to classify musically. That is if you're dealing with a multitude of different musical genres. Jazz, folk, avant garde rock and strains of soul all stained with the nicotine smoke of Greenwich Village coffee-houses fills this eclectic self-titled debut 6-song EP.
Playing together for the last two years guitarist / drummer / singer / songwriter Noah Riemer confesses that some of their major influences are the Athens, GA based folk-rock band Vigilantes Of Love, Van Morrison and the gypsy jazz of Django Rheinhardt.
Opening up the disc with an ethereal violin played by Noah's eighteen-year-old sister Beth Riemer on the slightly surrealist "I've Read Ecclesiastes", the band, which also includes bassist Aaron Zorn and Steve Thorngate on vocals, piano, guitar and trumpet, comes off sounding like a Salvador Dali-produced Fairport Convention. Noah Riemer's cool back-alley vocal delivery mixes well with the laid back rhythm on "Song Of Impropriety" before the number takes on a soulful feel with the aid of Beth's buttery background singing and Noah's bluesy / jazz guitar . The swinging "Something's Got To Give" has a bouncy refrain complete with doo-wop baritone, swirling soul-drenched vocals, stuttering guitar-line as well as Thorngate's good 'n greasy street parade-styled trumpet which could get just about any 'second line' jumping. Noah's years of studying classical guitar (he started playing while in second grade) shows through on "Maybe", one of the strongest numbers on the EP, which features a beautiful Spanish-flavored guitar solo.
The disc momentarily bogs down, however, on the slow moving, reflective number "Carpenter" before strutting into the quirky, finger-snappin' "Get Outta Here".
With this strange, yet hip, debut it'll be interesting to see what this Walworth County quartet has up their sleeve for a full length album.
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