The Dollfaces wore the blush of youth like a merit badge, and since every show was like a recital, you could forgive the Detroit teen rockers for the occasional rough patch. It's the same with Berr Kerkey, the first collection of solo demos from ex-Dollface Mick Bassett. These songs are great more for their feel than anything the sound of a boy in a bowler hat, holed up in his apartment with a thrift store copy of the Village Green Preservation Society and a life-size poster of Mick Ronson. "The Duke, the Duchess, and I," "A Mighty Ship," "Tea With William Blake" even the song titles sound like a contemporary kid's version of 1960s quaint and rock 'n' roll, and that's exciting in a watch-him-go sort of way. We want to hear what Bassett's going to do next. For now there's "Dancing on Your Grave," which begins with a great whir of film noir organ before a muted trumpet, cheeky lyrics and a bluesy acoustic guitar take over, and "I Tried," where a beautiful melody that sounds familiar somehow sounds fresh at the very same time. And listen for the moments when Bassett's lyrics lose the blush for that other commodity of youth: cunning. "I never liked your dumb rules, anyways."
Johnny Loftus is the music editor of Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.