KLONDIKE’S NORTH 40: The Straight Path: CD

I really do not like reviewing records. The reason: I tell it like it is. If a record is shit, I will destroy it. Lackluster bands shouldn’t waste my time or Razorcake’s pages; and I don’t want impressionable kids—y’know, whippersnappers like me at sixteen—buying garbage. That said, I often get into trouble when reviewing “legends”—like I really didn’t want to pan Gary Burger’s (of the Monks) new 45, but it was a pile of manure (so is the Dirtbombs’ new LP). That’s painful, but I’m not judging Mick Collins or Gary Burger’s respective careers—just their latest works. However, there is a plus side to this dilemma: sometimes a “legend” comes through. And in the case of The Straight Path, ex-Radio Birdman guitarist Chris “Klondike” Masuak is hitting pay dirt. Some of the best elements of Birdman are here: thoroughly Australian harmonies, strong lyrics, and excellent (!) guitar playing. The Straight Path has the definite stamp of an ex-Birdman; it’s also reminiscent of some of the Replacements latter-day records (Tim and Pleased to Meet Me) as Masuak’s voice sounds a bit like Westerberg’s. Refreshingly at fifty-plus years of age, Masuak’s subject matter has grown with his life’s experiences—a definite plus to the countless “legends” who simply revive their old formula. Way to go, Klondike. 

 –ryan (I-94, www.i94barrecords.com)