Colossal Yes Charlemagne's Big Thaw

Colossal Yes Charlemagne's Big Thaw
Utrillo Kushner's work under the Colossal Yes moniker strays miles away from his explosive role as the drummer for Comets on Fire. On Charlemagne's Big Thaw, Kushner sticks to piano and vocals, presenting a brand of pop that swings with a jazzy AM radio vibe. Kushner's latest continues the approach started on Colossal Yes' 2006 debut release, Acapulco Roughs, featuring songs that wouldn't be out of place echoing down the halls around hotel lounges. The path taken by Colossal Yes occasionally veers too close to '70s piano-man schmaltz but he fortunately contrasts that with other moments where solid tunefulness allow tracks to resonate, such as the title song and "Nothing but Tar & Feathers." Kelley Stoltz's production work gives the record an instrumental clarity where subtle notes rise up from beneath multiple layers. Charlemagne's Big Thaw isn't without certain flaws but it nevertheless conveys impressive craftsmanship. (Ba Da Bing!)