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New Music review vol. 14

Chuck Prophet's a no-nonsense songsmith. "You shouldn't need an owners manual to get through an album" he declares. But don't think the San Francisco-based singer/songwriter guitar hotshot is uncomplicated. The songs on Homemade blood resonate like strong memories, which is no slight accomplishment.

Prophet makes loud pop music that explores the quiet edges of Humanity. that's where things turn weird and slowly begin to tilt or find their own skewed balance. His characters sleep in their cares: they burn with the pain of broken blood bonds: they can't even get one even break. They're repeatedly body-slammed by life, but won't stop loving it anyway. Sure a few are psychos and losers, but many like the narrators of `Ooh Wee' and `New Years Day' - are romantics longing for happiness while settling for the nearest approximation.

"I spend time by myself, wresting on the ground with songs all day," Prophet says of his modus operandi. "According to (deadbeat novelist) Charles Bukowski, you have to have faith, practice and luck to write. I try not to jerk too far away from any of those. And I try not to be elusive . That's gutless"

 

Prophet learned to pack his songs with intestinal fortitude during seven years playing lead guitar and co-writing in the west coast 80's psychedelic revival band Green On Red. So he rocks like crazy as he tells Homemade bloods ragged-luck stories. His battered Telecaster speaks the language of 90's grunge with a 60's acid drawl that makes the subteraneum homesick blues `Inside Track' ring like Dylan fronting the Velvet Underground in Jon Spencer's basement. His six string mannerisms, filigress along the lines of the dizzy pick-slides and sonic booms he tosses into `Credit' put as much character into his numbers as his flexible baritone voice.

In keeping with Prophet's' truth-in music-policy, "we recorded the record as if it was a play, nobody went in the control room. Everything was cut live, standing up for the most part. That's important to me. When you're all in one room you're involved. Art is divine, and that's the kind of situation that gets it out of ourselves and closer to God if you will."

March 31, 2005 COMMENTS • Filed under CD Reviews (Age Of Miracles)