BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Having emerged from the same Toronto indie-rock milieu thatspawned Broken Social Scene, Feist and various other well-regarded operatives, Eric Corne boasts an ample resume all his own. His production and engineering credits boast such luminaries as Lucinda Williams, Michelle Shocked, Glen Campbell, DeVotchKa and Walter Trout, helping him acquire a list of contacts that’s paid off in more than platitudes. So when he opted to step out solo with Kid Dynamite and the Common Man he had access to an illustrious support crew, one that includes such notables as Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward, pedal steel player Greg Leisz, piano player Skip Edwards and bassist Dusty Wakeman.
Credit that all-star ensemble with a sound that’s both timeless and resilient. Still, it’s Corne who deserves the bulk of the kudos, given a set of songs themed to the modern malaise. It’s an album borne from desperation and disillusionment, a response to the shifting political landscape that’s engulfed the nation and the planet in the seven years since 9/11. The Lennonesque “Evil Men” – a song similar in sound to the ex-Beatle’s “Isolation” – and Americana entries like the dusty yet determined “Dead End,” “Blackguard” and “Stop & Stare” convey a weary resolve and a frayed world view. Corne’s sound has frequently been compared to a cross between Elvis Costello and Neil Young, but his compelling delivery elevates him beyond any tell-tale constraints. That said, he isn’t reticent about laying bare his influences; the slinking reggae rhythms of “Nobody Plays Here Anymore” and the sprightly Buddy Holly-like lope of “I Know A Girl” show the debt he owes his forebears.
Consequently, Kid Dynamite and the Common Man leaves an enduring impression. It earns its place as one 2008’s most dramatic debuts.
DOWNLOAD: “Evil Men,” I Know A Girl”