Of all the so-called retro pop revivalists of
the past twenty years or so, none packs as much credibility as Jason Falkner.
Raised on a steady diet of West Coast Rock, Falkner quickly turned his
ambitions into an impressive resume, courtesy of stints in such influential
outfits as the Three O’Clock and Jellyfish, leading lights in L.A. Paisley Pop
underground. His progress only accelerated after he opted for a solo career,
earning him a brief but fortuitous major label affiliation and opportunity to
work with fellow pop pundit Eric Matthews on the latter’s first two individual
More importantly, Falkner’s released a steady
string of sterling solo albums, although his later releases have mostly been
confined to imports or his website. To complicate matters even more, Falkner’s
veered out of the limelight, offering up two instrumental albums of Beatles
songs re-imagined as lullabies, admirable but unlikely attempts to quench his
OK, You’re OK should remedy all
that, and for good reason. Originally available only as a costly Japanese only
edition, it gets a belated release on these shores, begging the question as to
why such a pop perfect album was withheld from his American fans for so long.
While Falkner’s always managed to maintain that difficult balance between
melody and muscle, this is his most assertive – and accessible – set yet. Songs
like “This Time,” “NYC,” and “Stephanie Tells” command an irresistible surge,
robust rockers that upgrade Falkner’s frame of reference from the ‘60s to the
‘80s, without sacrificing either his assurance or his savvy in the
process. Both “Anondah” and “This Life
of Mine” allow a brief respite, turning the spotlight on softer sentiments
while still maintaining the sumptuous arrangements and a bold, dramatic flair.
Adding to the accomplishment, Falkner played every instrument himself, further
affirmation of the fact that I’m OK,
You’re OK can easily deliver on all its title implies.
Tracks: “Hurricane,” “This
Life of Mine,” “This Time” LEE ZIMMERMAN