Ira Ingber

Ira Ingber

Ira Ingber

Here Is Where

Colonel Muscletone Records

In the tradition of Randy Newman and Steely Dan arrives singer/songwriter Ira Ingber. Actually, Ingber has been around for a long time, but you didn’t know it. According to his website, Ingber has spent time with Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, Andrew Gold, J.D. Souther, Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and Van Dyke Parks. Then how come we’ve never heard of him before? The mysteries of life, I suppose. Now that Ingber is thrust into the spotlight, his keenly-eyed perspectives on life naked for the world to see, it’s time to appreciate what he has to offer.

And there’s much to absorb here.

Ingber’s music is in layers, off-kilter rhythms with a progressive rocker’s ear for technical precision and arty displays of musicianship. The Steely Dan comparisons are clear, especially on the opening cut “Trickery” and “This Gives Me a Plan.” You get that sense of high-I.Q. sophistication in the sound of these songs, which are about as far from contemporary Top-40 radio as you can get without falling into the avant garde. Utilizing the Memphis Horns on “Trickery” is a nice touch, and they pull the song forward. “What Lies Ahead” benefits from Ian Zenith’s stone-hard percussion, and the recording has the crispness of ’70s vinyl.

Lyrically, though, Ingber is at his strongest. “I’ve got a laugh track in my head/ For all the punchlines that I’m fed,” Ingber sings on “Laugh Track,” recalling Newman’s snappy sarcasm. Another brilliant line is, “I used to be immortal/ But I’ve gotten over that.”

Musically and lyrically, Ingber avoids all cliches. This album is never predictable, and I doubt you’ll hear anything like it.

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