Most of the 12 tracks here come painfully close to
brilliance while one slides painfully closer to
tragic. The former include the stop-you-in-your-tracks
"What's Good For You?" or the
Utopia/Rundgren-inflected "Danny's Private Life" and
"Surprise," while the latter mostly refers to the
highly disposable "Code Of The Road" (sorry, guys), a
song that damn near made me stop.
Editor's note-former Utopia bassist/vocalist Kasim Sultan makes an appearance on Pushing Red Buttons.
At times there is a crippling hesitancy here, evidence
of a really good writer (keyboardist/vocalist Steve
Herrig) and strong players fumbling toward confidence,
trying to find their voices. That's precious in a way
and it's something I love about Mike Keneally's Tar
Tapes (Keneally has since, of course, transformed into a musical giant), but frustrating in others.
Frustrating because you get the sense that with a
little more time and a little more chutzpah the
material here could be honed to a fine, sharp point
that would leave audiences dumbfounded.
That said, Pushing Red Buttons is worth having now for the glimpse it gives you of a band that could, provided they stick together (and I have no reason to believe otherwise),reach soaring musical heights.