It's been twenty years since we've heard anything from former Junk Monkeys frontman, David Bierman. After all those years of silence, Bierman has produced an effort that shares the same pop sensibilities of Junk Monkeys, but also a sense of maturity that you would expect to develop over such a long absence. David Bierman Overdrive
consists of Bierman's former Junk Monkeys cohort Kevin Perri on bass, Jim Faulkner of The Beggars on drums, David Feeny -who produced the album- on keys and pedal steel and Stephen Palmer of High Strung on guitar.
Where so many 90's rockers falter by trading in Marshall stacks and cocaine for pedal steel and parenthood, David Bierman Overdrive is still connected to their rock roots. Sure, there is a good amount of pedal steel on this album, but Feeny makes it sing -and sometimes scream- rather than simply using it as a technique to thicken the tracks. The rhythm section beckons the listener to dance rather than mope, which is an all too common pitfall with albums by musicians in similar circumstances. Too often do reformed rockers make albums that never exceed the tempo of a funeral dirge.
blends mellow moments with upbeat power pop. The slow tempos and calm mood are often interrupted by tunes where the band kicks it into...wait for it...overdrive. The result of the abrupt changes is a bit jarring but serves the album by adding dynamics.
Lyrically, Bierman isn't covering any new frontiers. However, his off-center musings on relationships and life are brutally honest reflections of what human beings actually experience without the filter of protecting those we may hurt. For example, on "Waltz of Spilled Drinks," the line "give me a reason to tell you the truth," drags the listener into very personal territory, as if you are awkwardly in the room during a lover's spat.
This batch of songs represents the aging rock musician in a graceful way. DBO sounds like the Eels covered Big Star with Nick Lowe at the mixing board. All the elements of pop-rock and soulful alt-country are accounted for without feeling forced or obligatory. "Clock," and "Alarm Clock," serve as the bookends of the album, but also act as a color wheel of moods. The lead track is soft and sweet while the closer ties it all together in a frenzy.
reminds us of why we pursue art in order to create happiness for ourselves.
The official record release party takes place on Saturday, October 4th at the Loving Touch in Ferndale. Oak Bones and Jeremy Porter and the Tucos will also perform.