Canadian singer/songwriter and producer, Joel Plaskett, hits forty rock of ages on 18th April, which is a significant landmark and this informs his new long player, The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, just released on Phermone Recordings. In fact, the album’s title also forms an acronym for the word “past” as Nova Scotia-born Plaskett examines his P-A-S-T life, approaching the BIG-FOUR-ZERO.
On A Dime jigs along in a Pogues kind of way and is tunefully drunk. We get a whiff of Jameson’s whisky on the breath of Alright/OK – woman trouble it seems! When I Close My Eyes is middle of the road; Credits Roll is out-and-out good time rock & roll and my hit-pick, the song reminiscent of Eddie Money’s Take Me Home Tonight.
I love the guitar playing on Captains Of Industry as notes curve and drive – it’s as if Joel’s music is accompanying the twists and turns in a road. In fact, the album’s title also derives from a nickname that Plaskett’s former neighbour, Roy Logan, gave to a metal guardrail at the corner of Park Avenue and King Street in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; while the curve is not geometrically unusual and can be easily navigated by a conscientious driver, there have been several instances of impaired drivers mishandling the turn and smashing their cars into the guardrail.
Other highlights include For Your Consideration (sweetly sung), Hard Times (echoes of Jackson Browne) and the gritty and pithy Song For Jersey – including the great line: ‘God, I Love Led Zeppelin – as well as the title track.’
A very good rather than great album – just lacks a killer punch.