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Reviews: Mark Sheehy ~ Rock, Paper, Jesus|
Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2004 @ 08:36:22 UTC
Artist: Mark Sheehy
CD: Rock, Paper, Jesus
Home: Chicago, Illinois
Style: Roots Rock
Quote: "Roaring out of the box full throttle into the rollicking ride that is 'Orion’s Belt,' he never looks back but continues to slam out his slice-of-life musical observations in raw and powerful offerings."
By Kevan Breitinger
Mark Sheehy has a lot to say. And he makes it worth your while to listen. Roaring out of the box full throttle into the rollicking ride that is “Orion’s Belt," he never looks back but continues to slam out his slice-of-life musical observations in raw and powerful offerings. Tackling a variety of subjects, Sheehy masterfully matches his evocative lyrics with the perfect instrumentation.
Disillusionment prevails throughout, but not in a melancholy way. “Orion’s Belt," layered guitars reminiscent of the Stones, sets the tone with its quixotic juxtaposition of Jesus and Mary in today’s world, just warming up coffee and pie in the microwave. Poetic images like these take us through Sheehy’s own processes and discoveries, and his gritty, masculine voice is the perfect guide. Actually, I find a strong masculinity (“motorcycle dreams when I’m hungover”) runs through the whole CD, and it’s often very appealing. “Mama Mama," impaling you with its shrill whistling organ, is an angry and heart-breaking rant against the wrong lessons learned.
But I don’t want to over-intellectualize here, because Mark Sheehy is nothing if not rocking. These ten arrangements are electric with power, from “Breakdown Lane," a road-weary and wistful tune of unspecified longing, to “Turn Out the Lights," another accordion-laced rant against the standard answers, Sheehy always manages to excite. His biggest surprise might be “Old Maid," arranged with simplistic but potent perfection, utilizing tuba and tack piano. In “I Said Yeah," a haunting love song, the vocals surf beautifully on the strong chords, riding them effortlessly to a seamless end. Mark Sheehy sings of our survival, and like any good rocker, he refuses to lie down quietly. His refusal is our gain.
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