What It Is Records
Singer/songwriter Ian Cocker initially took me by surprise. On “It’s Alright,” the first track from this album, Cocker’s voice slightly resembles that of Elvis Costello. Given the passing years, and the proliferation of male solo artists trying to fit within the John Mayer mold, you’d think that Costello’s influence had pretty much faded by now. Then again, could it be merely coincidence? With Cocker’s poetic ear for words, I doubt it. This is a man who is clearly well-read and most likely has deeper taste in music than the latest coffeehouse picks.
Indeed, “It’s Alright” does recall Costello — but minus the boiling rage that Costello barely keeps from pouring out. Rather, it’s lightweight acoustic pop about tuning out from the world’s problems and spending intimate moments with a loved one. In Costello’s mind, there’d be no happy endings; however, that’s not Cocker’s perspective. The moody “10 Days” ventures into ’70s folkie territory musically speaking, but the messages are conveyed through modern street talk: “Got 10 days to go back to my roots/And get social with my old Joey town/Huggin’ this one and that/Catchin up ‘where youse at?’ eating out and just clowning around.” The upbeat, transcendent “She’ll Fly,” a tribute to how we can lose ourselves in our imaginations, strikes the best note on the record. It’s a tune that Dave Matthews would’ve loved to have written himself.
There are traces of classic Bob Dylan here as well; however, despite the limitations of the singer/songwriter genre, Cocker separates himself from the others, having his own voice and clever way with words.
What It Is Records: www.whatitisrecords.com