Way Cool - Laid Back and Subdued Overall - A Personal Favori
Rich Latta | Albuquerque, NM - Land of Entitlement | 08/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The venerable Daniel Ash, Bauhaus/Tones On Tail/Love & Rockets songwriter, guitarist and occasional singer dropped this mostly laid-back, slightly goth-tinged solo delight in 1991. It's a real pleasure and a most worthy find. This album has far more appeal than it's current status as "collector's item for fans" might indicate, and it's a must for L&R devotees in particular.
COMING DOWN comes pretty close to being a pure solo effort with Ash handling the vocals, guitars and most of the bass work. But there are a few other musicians along for the ride, including longtime collaborator Kevin Haskins (drummer with the bands mentioned above). There's lots of haunting background vocals from Natacha Atlas who also plays keys and bass on "Walk This Way." Ash has a talent for taking basic, often blues-based material and making it sound cool. These are fairly simple songs, sprinkled with quite effective atmospheric touches and powered by Ash's dark charisma.
Breakdown (my personal impressions):
"Blue Moon" - a twinkling, barely audible 50-second album intro (a cover version of the old classic). The moment this fragile, delicate-sounding piece begins to falter, "Coming Down Fast" comes crashing in with thunderous drums and swaggering attitude. Daniel delivers a distorted, ice-cold vocal that somehow warms my chilly heart. One of only 2 tracks on the heavy side of the spectrum and waaay cool. *****
"Walk This Way" - Ash goes bossa-nova, with addictive results. *****
"Closer to You" - this is a charming, super-mellow little tune. ****
"Day Tripper" - this Beatles classic gets the smooth, laid-back treatment - that is, until Ash cranks up the riff midway through. The "naughty word" rumored to be on the original version is clearly audible on this one. Great cover. *****
"This Love" - the other full-blown rocker, this song got the most attention from this album on radio and video ("Walk This Way" also got some airplay). Kinda funky, quite danceable. ****1/2
"Blue Angel" - a slow, dreamy tune, enjoyable if a bit meandering. In deference to his notorious laziness, Ash lifts some lyrics from previous song "Walk This Way." ***1/2
"Me and My Shadow" - Like "Blue Moon," this is another very old song. This cover is so cool, jazzy and smooth, even granny will love it, which somehow makes it even more hip. It's a blast! *****
"Candy Darling" - a sad, eerie song, presumably a tribute to the original Candy Darling, a denizen of Andy Warhol's "Factory" from the 60s. ****1/2
"Sweet Little Liar" - strange atmospherics provide a great segue-way between "Candy" and this track. Dark and sensuous, it's occasionally punctuated with a sinister-sounding guitar. Creepy cello, too. ****1/2
"Not So Fast" - sounds like being trapped in a hazy dream-state, acoustic guitar strumming serenely. *****
"Coming Down" - a deep, hypnotic-sounding song. On this final cut, the album plunges into the netherworld hinted at on the previous track. It's actually a slow motion re-working of "Coming Down Fast" (or vice-versa). While some might call this lazy, I actually love it when Daniel completely reinterprets a song for the same record in this way. "Coming Down" brings the album full circle and nicely accentuates its theme. It's the most atmospheric track on the album. *****
Note: not to suggest that this is the only or best way to listen to this CD, but it's a great one to put on when turning in for the night (or the dawn)."