HARVEY McLAUGHLIN: Rascality: CD

When I was a poxy stripling of about thirteen or fourteen, and just getting wise to the ways of the rock’n’roll world, there was a fair amount of a certain stripe of music around that certainly wasn’t punk—and might not have always even been punk-adjacent—which did not set itself in opposition to That Which Was In The Mainstream, but, rather, presented itself as sort of occupying the more interesting/less bullshit fringes of the mainstream. On the college radio station, it might have been Nick Lowe or Ian Dury; on the album-oriented FM station (back when these stations had some semblance of freedom and original thought regarding programming, which, admittedly, was a long friggin’ time ago) perhaps it was Warren Zevon or Ian Hunter. It was acceptable listening, though it was clearly targeted to wise-in-the-ways-of-the-world grownups and not poxy striplings who just wanted to jump around and bang their heads and chase girls and yell. This album is that kind of music. It isn’t even vaguely “punk”—it has piano! Tenor saxophone! MARIMBAS! (Will the outrage never cease?)—but it’s clever, well-done, smart-alecky singer-songwriter stuff, which rocks in its own fashion, kind of like the stuff your buddy’s older brother who went away to college would have been listening to forty or years ago. My favorite line is “standing by the pay phone / that ain’t worked since Clinton got impeached.” It makes me feel like I’m writing for Creem or something. BEST SONG: “I Was a Teenage Yeti.” BEST SONG TITLE: “The Amazing Mole Boy.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: “Ping’s Chinese Restaurant” is misspelled “Ping’s CHINES Restaurant” on the back cover. –Rev. Nørb (Saustex, saustex.com)