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Gordon Weiss
Sum of Its Parts

 

Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
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  Gordon Weiss starts his Sum of Its Parts CD in a strange way with a woman reciting a deranged version of "Roses Are Red" (from the Italian horror classic Suspiria) on "Fountains of Weezer," then he starts singing his purposefully distorted vocals. He then makes a statement with his guitar on the track, which abruptly cuts off the psycho woman and leads right into the song. This is his own personal tribute to Fountains of Wayne and Weezer. From this point forward, what he sets you up for is a grand listening experience full of rock-pop nuggets.

Weiss is another incredibly gifted indie musician, he plays guitar, piano, bass, percussion, everything but the kitchen sink and then writes all of his own music and lyrics. The superlative prog-rocker Jeff Cannata produced the recording in his studio. Cannata is like an underground Todd Rundgren of sorts, taking artists like Weiss under his wing and getting every ounce of talent from him and the visiting musicians that assist Weiss in getting this recording together. Weiss benefited from this atmosphere and the result is superb as Sum of Its Parts is an excellent rock-pop album that reminded me of early Steely Dan, and that put a smile in my heart that would not go away. It felt that way for me from track 2 to 12.
When Weiss cuts loose on "Red Shoes Revisited" it turns out to be a real pop gem, the kind of song you hear on those warm summer nights blaring from cars driving by or from the neighbors open window. The following track is "Unforgivable," which starts with an unforgettable hook via Weiss's six-string and it weaves its way through the meat of the track. This is the one song when the Steely Dan thing hit me; all I could think of was their first album "Can't Buy a Thrill." This is a good thing, a real tribute to how good Weiss is and the lasting impression he made on me.

There is also plenty of influence of the Fab 4 in this music. "Half of Harry," sounds like a Lennon and McCartney tune if I ever heard one and the harmonies and chorus, then the psychedelic guitar licks accompanied by the keyboards emulating the Sgt. Pepper like horns pushed me into a reminiscent frame of mind again. I have to wonder if Weiss also listened to a lot of 10cc (Note 'Hook, Line and Singer") in his day.
Well it is all good regardless of the influences Weiss sounds fresh, vibrant and original and I know how difficult that can be when you have so many influences that are instantly recognizable.

Let's face it, there is more crap than quality music out there now, I think it's probably a 10 to 1 ratio at this point, with the good being on the low end of the scale. This is a good album worth investigating.

 

 

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