Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: IKE "The Little People, Church, And The Steeple"

John Faye and company are back with a new record, "The Little People, Church & The Steeple”. The new release is essentially an EP of 5 new songs, but the second half consists of acoustic versions of the new tunes. For the uninitiated, we’ve been long time fans of Faye, whether in the context of his first major band, The Caulfields, IKE, or his solo projects, the most recent of which found him teamed with Brittany Rotondo (reviewed here).

We last heard from IKE with the stellar 2010 release, “Tie The Knot With All That You Got” (reviewed here). "The Little People, Church & The Steeple” continues to refine Faye’s penchant for crunchy riffs and sticky hooks, with plenty of his trademark wise-cracking lyrics. IKE roars back into action with the appropriate opener, “Rock and Roll Dreams” – an in-your-face arena-ready rocker with a tongue-in-cheek message about the music business. “Dead To Me” is vintage Faye, with its steady beat and surf guitar riff recalling the magic of his early Caulfields work. “If I Can Help It” is a majestic power ballad that allows Faye’s vocals to soar to new heights, but truly is a testament to the explosive chemistry in the IKE lineup. Perhaps my favorite tune is “Glorious Mistake”, a pleasant mid-tempo rocker that is instantly likeable. The final new tune here is “Just Like That”, which begins with its infectious chant of a chorus before slipping into its crunchy powerchord verse. These five songs are repeated with nothing but voice and guitar, giving us a glimpse into what IKE sounds like in the coffeehouse. Stripped down to their bare bones, this format reveals the simplistic beauty in IKE’s songwriting that manages to hit the right buttons every time.


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