Quite a formidable pairing (hmmmm…) – Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony and Gary Louris of The Jayhawks team up on a knockout project now known as Au Pair (“oh, pair” – see?) and this is, indeed, a winner.  Classic, hooky pop done in a low-fi manner but damn, if it doesn’t sound grand and lush.

Case and point as you jump right into the opening track, “In Every Window” – catchy, killer harmonies (the tightness of the two vocals sound startlingly like Townshend and Entwistle, who had some of the greatest harmonies ever) and a deadly McGuinn-styled solo; the ethereal, atmospheric “One-Eyed Crier” would put Roger Waters to shame – warm, other-worldly and subdued-ly psychedelic in a very subtle way and the album’s title cut, “One Armed Candy Bear” has a classic rock & roll acoustic boogie feel while being assaulted with a fuzzy guitar weaving in and out.

“Night Falls Early” is a slow, sweet track with touches of Syd Barrett in some places and Chris Bell in others but the harmonies give it an even more impactful emotional level – and yes, during the guitar break towards the end, you immediately hear the influence of the darker tracks from Big Star’s 3rd – small wonder, as both gentlemen have performed as part of the Big Star Third live ensemble; “Middle Distance” is the “poppy” song; the track you can imagine as singled out for radio airplay, with its catchy choruses and upbeat melody and “Make An Entrance” is a perfect finger-picked piece in a very Stephen Stills/Pete Townshend kind of way.

With One Armed Candy Bear, Gary Louris and Django Haskins have proved once again that less is more.  And there’s plenty here to get into.  I keep getting into it – over and over.


One Armed Candy Bear is available now

About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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