Dec 9, 2009

Morung Express Music review: Jack Pucho's Now & Always

Album: Now & Always
Artist: Jack Pucho
Genre: Rock (soft)
Recording: Aries Music, Dimapur

Armageddon was perhaps the high-point in Jack’s contemporary Christian metal stint. His astounding high-Cs on Bloodgood’s ‘The Messiah’ or a Stryper never failed to pop a socket or two. This Patkai Christian College alumnus cut his ‘mainstream’ teeth via Christian metal outfit, Armageddon, striding the waves Lystra stirred up way back the mid ‘90s.

Jack Pucho is a man come full circle. You only have to listen to ‘Now & Always,’ his new CD, to feel in his muse the place he fought out from. There is something about ‘Now & Always: you forget his terrible motorcycle accident, his incredible High-Cs, his painful struggle from the dregs of youth up to where he is now et al. He’s found his place finally. And there’s no way this unbeatable spirit’s moving anywhere now. Jesus Christ couldn’t have been a better bet not to move away from. And how do you liberate your secret demons? Sing.

There is something about the chorus on ‘Introducing Me’ the first note off the CD. It has the dirty (but subdued) tonal angst of British alternative blended with an easy dose of big-radio harmony. Loved this song right from the word go. Sincere songs, well, you can have them around. But it’s not always you come across songs that feels sincere. While the guitar sounded a bit unflattering (riffing a tad isolated from the entire tonal makeup), the arena melodies just did it right. This one’s of those kinds you can cut, dry and package, modify and recreate in every possible mode and still sound good. Soft-rock, catchy, upbeat yet decidedly melancholic, almost sad this is one song you won’t ignore.

‘Live to worship’ has nice guitar interludes. Not necessarily the average Joe Satriani freak’s point for reference, but catchy enough to have a listen or two. The drums sounded exceedingly perfect to the song unlike in ‘Introducing Me’ where it felt a bit bored. While ‘rockable’ especially in the bluesy bridge to the final refrain, Guitarist David Murry is struggling with the overdrive tone, it seems. (David is of Faith fame and possibly a regular metal-mischief comrade of Jack those Faith/Armageddon days). Jack makes clear his intention to live in worship of The One who delivered him. Listenable.

Ok, now go get your Elvis pelvis from the shack, pump it up with a little of Bob Marley hair and then do a sort of Keith Richards swing on Bitchy Woman: what do you have? A highly swingable ‘Time is ticking.’ Not a masterpiece but the entire build of the song is impressive – simple, grassy at times and upbeat reggaeish. One thing with fusing different instrumental styles into a melody-driven song is they often mess up the whole point of the song, in this case, the chorus. Not inspiring enough but the guys pull it off nicely. (What’s wrong with the high-head?)

Next, ‘You are the one’ makes for a lulling yet rockish worship song although it feels to have been intended to sound, again, very British alternative. The best part of this song is the lyrics, painfully simple, unpretentious. A nice song. And there is ‘Free’ a chugging three-minute-something bundle of urban blues rhythm. This blues-driven guitar outing is accentuated beautifully by beautiful keyboard interludes. Think this rank up with ‘Introducing Me.’ And check out the guitar solo – here’s one flat ascend you won’t flinch running up your fingerboard.

The next set, ‘Now & Always’ well sounded stolen (forgive us) out from some MTV hit thingy. Melodic yes (naturally) but you are like “hey I’ve heard this tune somewhere but dunno where!’ U2? Na. Oh yes maybe. ‘Without You’ and ‘I need you’, well, listenable but not necessarily that-was-really-good. The guitars, and the drums, at this point, painfully need a change of tone. Overall, it’s not some local goodbye album but makes a good buy.

One small thought: Local recordings never fail to make acoustic drums sound like wimpy pads while ‘metal’ guitars forever couldn’t be nearer than 3 kilometers in the background.

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