Michael Plishka,
Spit, Sputter, Blow....
(self-produced, 2000)

Spit, Sputter, Blow.... by Michael Plishka has some very good songs on it. Unfortunately, the first few songs on the CD are not on that list. The music is good but the songs are not; we'll get to that more in a bit.

Throughout the CD, the guitar playing is solid. But somehow the vocals do not quite blend into the music on some of the songs. With the first four tracks -- "I Woke up This Morning," "Seven Sisters," "Snowflake on my Tongue" and "When You Love Me" -- and the seventh, "Move," it sounds like the guitar is close by while the singer is five miles away. And since he is five miles away he is shouting just so you can hear him clearly.

Now with that out of the way, let's get onto the good ones. "And the River Flows..." is a rich, broad love song. "Please Dance With me" is a catchy tune with lyrics that are sometimes sung, sometimes spoken. "Bernard's Waltz" has a scratchy edge that makes it sound like it comes from an old, well-played LP.

"Einstein's Time" is magic; this is where the music lies. It is passionate, intense and wraps itself around you. While "Dance in the Rain (Love You, Kiss You, Sure Do Miss You)" starts with a touch of distance in the vocals, they very quickly come near. The magic returns in "Dream of Light (Soar my Soul)" and "Spit, Sputter, Blow." Both of these songs reach out and say, taste and see that it is good.

Spit, Sputter, Blow.... is a CD of extremes. When it works everything falls into place and is beautiful. However, when it does not work it fails by the same margin. The best of this CD is worth having; the question is do you want to have to skip the rest?

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 6 July 2002