He doesn't play the piano or write soundtracks for Disney films, but Pierce Crask may be this town's Randy Newman. As the principal singer and lyricist for the Falling Martins, Crask spits satire with no shortage of venom in his husky croon, all cloaked in the guise of pleasing, country-flecked rock. On the just-released Nostalgia Train, Crask's preferred stance is that of the bemused observer, he who watches charlatans, socialites and poseurs with humor-filled disdain. The songs are largely funny without being gimmicky, sharp without sounding too bitter mostly thanks to the rest of the group, which favors a rootsy, bar-band sound with touches of jazz piano and blues slide guitar.
Crask's favorite target is the local music scene; the title track mocks '80s cover bands, and "Fake Disco Band" takes aim at the glitter and pomp of big-money cover acts who ride on the titular nostalgia train. Admittedly, it's a thin line for Crask to walk, as he regularly performs songs by Townes Van Zandt, the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan (the Martins take a nice, shuffling pass at Bob's "Buckets of Rain" on Train). But maybe these songs have a greater claim to authenticity than, say, "Sweet Child o' Mine" and maybe Crask and company just offer a different kind of nostalgia.
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