Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Homespun: John Maxfield 

(Tantrum Niche Records)

Airy, open piano chords, brushed drums and organ accents usher in John Maxfield's latest record with the cocktail-jazz instrumental "Theme to Hullabalooga," a sly hint that the album may be more ambitious than most of its rock/pop contemporaries. In a way, it is different; the album relies more on the soft edges of piano jazz. And as it does on Joe Jackson's Night & Day, this trope pairs nicely with classic pop songcraft – but only when Maxfield lets pop structures trump the jazz flourishes. At seven minutes, "I Miss Her" feels interminable, with a tenor saxophone solo droning on much longer than the lyrical portion. Likewise, the "band on the run" tale of "Back on the Bus" attempts to trade Brill Building pop for a Mothers of Invention-esque freak out, but it comes out sounding like They Might Be Giants minus the humor. Maxfield is better at the disconsolate "Total Disaster" and especially the zippy power-pop stomper "Black and Blue" – the songs give a better framework for his catchy melodies and sharp-cornered hooks.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation