Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Recordings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Recordings

Article excerpt

"HEAR NO EVIL" Wake Ooloo (Pravda Records)

The Feelies specialized in mesmerizing rock 'n' roll rather than captivating pop songcraft. Wake Ooloo, featuring two former Feelies, refines that specialty in the debut album "Hear No Evil."

While ex-Feelies drummer Stanley Demeski later surfaced in the extremely catchy pop group Luna, Glenn Mercer and Dave Wakerman have taken Wake Ooloo in a harder rocking direction. All three bands, the Feelies, Luna and Wake Ooloo, owe a tremendous debt to the Velvet Underground, but while Luna reminds us of the Velvet's "Pale Blue Eyes," for example, Wake Ooloo recalls legendary rave-ups such as "I'm Waiting for the Man."

Mercer still writes and produces much the same way he has on other records, building and layering textures on top of primitive structures and sometimes even two-chord drones. The vocals are still submerged in the mix. Now that he's no longer collaborating with guitarist Chris Millions, however, Mercer relies more on his double-tracked guitars and Russell Gambino's keyboard textures.

The body of the songwriting falls into two obsessions: songs about time and songs about songs. These two themes overlap; for example. in "Time To Go," Mercer bellows, "Sing a song about redemption/Make it rhyme with resolute/Anything you can remember/ Make it ring out with the truth." Time and again, Mercer focuses on the limitations of pop music in conveying complicated thoughts and feelings, and this tension not only is fascinating but provides some exciting musical moments.

Mercer is perhaps more expressive musically than lyrically, and "Hear No Evil" contains some of his best guitar work to date. "Forty Days," typical of many songs on this album, finds him abandoning the more pastoral textures of previous albums and incorporating more feedback, string bending and dissonance. …

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