Scene and Heard – CCCXCIII: Cool Ride –  Peter Senior (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

39957139_474972783004192_6081965620063109120_nThere is very little new under the sun, as they say, especially when it comes to guys singing about cars. But as is always the way it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. Anyway, that’s enough cliche’s for the time being, you know what I am saying. And whilst Cool Ride is a guy singing about a car, it is the music that Peter Senior uses to deliver the message that justifies going over such well trodden territory again.

Blending a country rock ’n’ roll groove with more soulful textures, –  plaintive piano notes and melancholic trumpets with a bluesy backbeat –  the song might swerve away from the usual cliches, but the video certainly doesn’t. I like to think that the images use are knowingly obvious, that it is self-deprecating, delivered with a wink and it does indeed remind us that there is more to life than cars and girls (sorry another throw away reference). It is also about cars and boys!

The track is taken from On The Edge, an album which acts as a showcase for Senior’s myriad styles and musical interests skipping between country and rock, Motown and pop, an almost as live recording and his first solo album to date.

But despite, or perhaps because of, the playful innuendo found here you shouldn’t dismiss the song as a past pastiche or rose tinted glance back to past musical glories. Okay, that is part of what’s going on here but it is also a song for today, a modern update on simpler musical times and blending oil stained Americana with sassy late night jazz vibes. And the more you play it the more you find to like about it.

Between the more obvious beats and the straightforward intent, subtle and supple textures emerge, the odd percussive groove here, a Mariachi blast there, perfectly poised harmonies and some clever arrangements. It would be easy to take so many different sonic elements, throw them into the mix and end up with a cluttered sound, one where one instrument steps on the toes of another but the production here allows everything to breath, even to the point that you can hear some of the “live-ness” of the recording, something I thoroughly approve of.

So to conclude, it is a song that you need to get to know, one that you need to spend some time with,  take for a spin a few times and understand how it handles. And like most great cars you will find that what you find when you lift the hood of this sonic beast may very well surprise you.

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