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Erik Larson | The Resounding | Alabama Thunderpussy | review | rock | Lollipop

Erik Larson

The Resounding (Small Stone)
by Brian Varney

The rock 'n' roll solo album is perhaps the most difficult of tricks to successfully pull off. Acting more often than not as emotional vomitoriums for screaming, drug-crazed meatheads to unveil a previously unseen sensitive side with the ultimate goal of scoring with more girls, they very seldom arise out of an actual desire to express something. I don't really think I need to list examples, but I'm enough of a prick that I will anyway. Not wishing to be too cruel to anyone, I will merely utter two words before moving along: Lou Barlow.

Now then... It's an honor and a pleasure to report that The Resounding is none of these things. I say it's a pleasure because I am a very big fan of Erik Larson's main gig, Alabama Thunderpussy (or, as they are referred to in front of parents and square co-workers, ATP). Considering, however, that it took quite awhile for ATP to grow on me, I wasn't sure how I'd react to this album.

The Resounding is exactly what a solo album should be, which is to say it's an outpouring of ideas and emotions which don't really fit what the main band is doing. I don't really know who does what as far as ATP's songwriting goes and, though that band's vocalist Johnny Throckmorton does have an excellent, versatile voice, I have no idea what any of the band's songs are about. Therefore, I have no idea if Erik contributes songs to ATP and, if so, if those songs are as obliquely personal as these, so I can't say whether or not this truly represents Erik branching into uncharted lyrical territory.

There are unquestionable similarities between the two, which shouldn't come as too much of a surprise since Erik's guitar (named Virgil, in case you were wondering) supplies much of the meat of the ATP sound. However, he's also playing drums and singing (for the first time, apparently) here, and the music includes full-on heavy rock which wouldn't sound out of place in an ATP set (opener "Mine Never Was," "Rede," and the fantastically-titled "I Feel Like Ted Nugent") as well as non-pukeworthy acoustic melancholia like "Make It" and "Of Storms," and, amazingly, Larson's voice fits both styles equally well. I would be remiss in singing this album's praises without mentioning the fine vocals of Kachina Oxendine, whose fine, Pat Benatar-like wail complements Larson's gruffness on "Hardest Thing to Write About" and elsewhere.

Sounds like a recipe for an all-over-the-map splatterfest, but it actually holds together quite well as an unflinchingly introspective, deeply personal album that never resorts to the nauseating navel-gazing of so many so-called "songwriter" types, while also managing to rock like two jackrabbits a-humpin', something which doesn't happen nearly as often as it should.
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