Review: Joel Plaskett

Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test (Pheremone)

The first thing you might ask with Plaskett is "Emergency or solo, rock or acoustic?" Drummer Dave Marsh and bassist Chris Pennell play on a good portion of the 13 tracks, often with extras. The Emergency is most robust on "Credits Roll," where Erin Costelo's piano boosts the bottom end and Peter Elkas adds a second guitar, just enough to remind you of Thrush Hermit. It may be the most irresistible pop song, an earworm even. He does his own percussion for a team-up with fiddler JP Cormier, "On a Dime," where the chorus goes "I wouldn't want to leave it behind." Local references like road hockey in the old Hollis Street NSLC parking lot restate his love of this town despite all the globe-trotting he does. There's a swerve into class struggle in "Captains of Industry," who are "telling us lies, tapping our phone." Dale Murray on pedal steel enhances the paranoia stirred by motion detectors and how "If you got nothing, they look at you funny." This is probably Plaskett's most varied album. So much in demand as a producer and performer, he shares the diversity he hears with his audience.

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