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Jimmer

The Would-Be Plans – 2014 (Chief Injustice)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Jimmer

The solo debut and first recordings in more than two decades from former Rave-Ups front man Jimmer Podrasky is a mix of alt.-country, folk, pop and rock. Podrasky kicks it off with the folk-pop of "The Far Left Side of You," which recalls the Velvet Underground's "Who Loves the Sun" with a chorus of "bah, bah, bah, bah." The moody "She Has Good Records" has similar pop refrains ("She likes to hear a tune with a poppy groove/It goes "la, la, la, la, la/But she can't hear me even though I scream/She goes 'la'").

Some of the stronger tracks are a trio of tunes that seem to question faith. The title track begins by observing how quickly time passes ("How could it be I'm so young yet so much older than I should be?"), then transitions to more spiritual reflections ("Where should I pray, if the church is just a fashion show on Sundays?" and "Why does God think he's watching a TV?/I wish he'd switch the channel on to me/You can bet I would let him"). The haunting "Empty" addresses religion more directly ("Faith is hard to come by now/Like winning the lottery/And I have had as much of God/As I think that he has had of me"). The country-rocker "Satellite" tells of turning to drugs for comfort ("Take me away to another plane/Faith is just a hangman's rope/You might think I've gone insane/But I saw God go up in smoke").

Other highlights are the pop ballad "With This Ring," which features an arrangement that recalls The Beatles' "And I Love Her," and "Molotov Moon," an effective reworking of a Rave-Ups b-side.

Podrasky is nicely supported throughout by bandmates Mitch Marine (producer, drums), Ted Russell Kamp (bass, mandolin, lap steel) and Brian Whelan (guitars, piano, accordion). Despite a 23-year hiatus from recording "The Would Be Plans" shows Jimmer Podrasky to be in top form.