"Prowl" / The Baskervilles
Yet another sign that the music business has its head up its butt: A delightful indie band like the Baskervilles, who for 10 years have been turning out catchy songs with a skewed sense of humor, still haven't been picked up by a major label and promoted to the skies. This is the kind of music people like, oh ye record company powers-that-be, and if you can't discover and nurture talent like this, then you deserve to go sliding into oblivion.
Full disclosure here: I happen to know a member of the Baskervilles, Rob Keith, and I know he's an enthusiastic Kinks fan -- always a mark of exquisite musical taste in my book. But I believe I'm thoroughly objective when I say that this band's sound is tuneful and fresh; they have an artsy downtown edge but no off-putting hipster snobbery.
For the past month or so their loopy video "Midnight at the Underground Club" has been a YouTube favorite around my house, and I've just gotten hooked on "Prowl," the latest of their monthly mp3 free downloads. I dig its bouncy synthesizer fills, that slaphappy drumbeat, the slightly ditzy psychedelic texture -- and, of course, the little "fa-fa-fa" thrown into the lyrics (shades of "David Watts").
The narrator of this is a modern Prufrock, an insecure neurotic (or perhaps a borderline psychotic -- the very first line announces "There's a voice talking in my head"). He's lurking in a bar hoping to meet a nice girl: "Three seats down is someone with a rum and coke / Under my bed is where the serpents go / Three seats down is someone too gorgeous to know / You might say that anxiety's kicking in." Scoff at him or be creeped out by him, but admit it, there's a bit of this loser in all of us too.
And there's something very sweet as he declares in the second verse: "I'm not afraid of the dark / Not afraid of the spider." (I get a flash of David Bowie on that line.) "I'm not afraid of falling," he adds, earnestly, "I won't be afraid of you / 'Cause I know / You can love me forever / And I know / I can love you forever." Hey, that innocent faith in true love -- that's what pop music is all about, isn't it?
So check out the Baskervilles -- their 2003 CD and 2005 EP are both available on Amazon as well as on iTunes, and there's a new CD coming out this spring, which should include "Prowl." And if you like them, spread the word.