This is quite a pairing: R. Stevie Moore, the prolific DIY legend who has released hundreds of cassettes (and albums) over the decades and Jason Falkner, the brilliant and gifted singer/songwriter/instrumentalist/producer who has quite the pedigree. Mr. Faulkner’s played with The Three O’Clock, Jellyfish and The Grays; in 1996, he released his solo debut on Elektra, Presents Author Unknown, an album that I still love as much now, as well as some other great solo records. When you sink your teeth into Make It Be, the new collaborative effort between these two, you find a very good balance. Considering the bulk of the songs are written by Mr. Moore, it sounds like an equal effort; certainly Mr. Faulkner’s skills as a producer/studio driver are at a peak here.
There are some genuinely hysterical moments, most notably, Mr. Moore’s opener “I H8 PPL,” which is the entirety of the lyric “I hate people,” but because of the balance in the collaboration, something that can get old really quickly has a great power-pop edge thanks to Mr. Faulkner’s twist on the direction of the track. “Another Day Slips Away” has a very ’80’s feel to it; “That’s Fine, What Time?” is a spoken-word piece, voiced over programmed electronics, while on the other end of the spectrum, heavy guitars power “I Am The Best For You,”, where Mr. Moore works the dynamics of “loud/quiet/loud”. Mr. Falkner does have his one track, “Horror Show” and there’s a lot of focus on the good-natured take of Huey “Piano” Smith’s New Orleans classic, “Don’t You Just Know It?” The more straightforward tracks like “Play Myself Some Music” and “Sincero Amore” are both sharp, well-focused pieces of pop.
Granted, 18 tracks are a lot for one sitting, but if you take it for being experimental and fun, then you’ll understand that this is the way that both can be brought into a recording session and made successful. That’s how I view this album – successful, especially because R. Stevie Moore and Jason Faulkner also know how to make it and keep it interesting.
Make It Be will be released Friday, March 10th, 2017