Friday, May 19, 2017

Chemical People – Arpeggio Motorcade

LA punk rock stalwart Dave Nazworthy (AKA simply Dave Naz) has done many projects over the years – musical and otherwise – and I got to know him a bit better for the short while when we backed Jeff Dahl for a handful of gigs (along with bass master John Duffy) in the early 2000’s. Dave had recently released this record and was kind enough to front me a copy.

Here Dave is frontman – lead vocals, guitar and saxophone (no drums, although that had been his main instrument at one time) – backed by Dave Landry on drums and Ed Urlik on bass. The Chemical People are punk rock without being thrashy and highly melodic without being typical “punk-pop”. Naz creates truly interesting melodies and progressions that stick with you without being cloying. I don’t think that I had really known much about CP before getting this record but they quickly became a favorite.

This record really works as a whole for me, without any one thing/song dominating the rest. There are plenty of variables, though, such as Joe Nolte (from the Last) playing lead guitar on “The Last One” (appropriately enough – oh yeah, Naz played with the Last at one point, as I recall), bassist Ed singing lead on “Can’t See Your Face” and Freda Rente singing some great counter-point on “No Reason Why”, a slow-to-mid tempo number with acoustic guitars.

A real stand-out and a big difference from an average punk-pop record is “No Hope”, a fantastic number with truly terrific, jazzy horn sections – I love the trumpet solo here! Not something that you would ever expect from someone immersed in the LA punk scene! The horns continue in “Waiting” to great effect – less jazzy, more classic-rock-accent-y – and who wouldn’t love the insane guitar noise that closes this one? It’s just Naz and his acoustic guitar on the 70’s-ish “It’s Up To You” and then the proceedings come to a close with the layered, riffin’ guitars and hep horns in “Forgot About”.

Released 20 years ago (!) on Cruz Records, this is still well worth searching out! Great songs, fine arrangements and plenty of variety. Dig it!