Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Subplot A ~ Tragic Romantic Mocku Fantasy

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: comedy, Canada
Label: Messy Desk Creations
Year: 2009
Home: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Members: Arun Lakra, Craig Newnes, Wes Sutherland ~ assorted instruments
Scott Henderson, Bobby McAlister, Emre Unal ~ assorted instruments/vocals
Joel Schaefer, Paul Distefano, Clea Roddick, Irene Tuazon, Dana Crawford, Sonal Jogia ~ vocals


Hard rock ... folk & country .... techno ... world rhythms ... commercial power pop ... it's all here in a colorful 15 song cornucopia by Subplot A, a "viritual" musical collective led by producer/composer/musician Arun Lakra. It's the same musical cornucopia found in the output of Chumbawumba, Bare Naked Ladies & the Flaming Lips. It's colorful, catchy, crazy, creative, comical & completely fun ... & with enough lyrics to keep the word lover happy for an evening ... which is a subtle endorsement to buy the physical CD & not the download version. For example, in opener "Everyman" the male singer cries out in the chorus "Who do you long for/when I take your hand/when you've all alone/let me be your everyman" while the 30 verses of couplet pairs repeat "I want to be your ____" with the blank featuring a list of over 100 names of guys from George Burns to Dorian Gray to Citizen Kane to Jimmy Buffet to the Soup Nazi (my neighbor actually) to Jean Luc Picard! It's a game of trivial pursuit thrown on the ground & is delightfully repeated at the end of the album with 32 more couplets but now with a woman singer saying "You'll never be my ____"! The rest of the album refrains from such hearty pop culture lessons, though it does continue to favor the list approach in its lyrics ... but then so does Broadway icon Steven Sondheim if one listens closely ... only to throw the trials & tribulations of daily life into the listener's face with such songs as "Cranky" ... calling out everything that makes the hoarse voiced singer cranky ... to a bubbly electronica enhanced love song using references to the planet Pluto ... "we traveled different orbits/your night was my day". There's also the anthem in the making "I Puke Alone" about an all too romantic moment many of us have had too often ... "I don't need you to keep the hair out of my face/please remember before you close the door/I'll love you forever & I puke alone"... along with "Must Sell Screenplay" that's a direct letter to Misters Spielberg, Tarantino, Shamalama, Scorese, Eastwood, Reiner & ending with the lovely last ditch effort "Must sell screenplay.../or maybe ... sell a ... song about it/Please Mr. Eno/I got your number from the Edge...". Isn't this fun? Subplot A certainly want you to say yes with different musical styles channeled into the mix to match. But ... they also are hoping you're paying attention cause underneath the fun are some incredibly intense social insights that would make Chumbawumba proud. It starts subtly with "I Don't Care" with the refrain "I got a hundred causes lined up at my door/enough is enough I can't bleed anymore" & moves to the shocking rasta-esque rouser "Two Empty Seats" about an American with "black hair & dark eyes, my name is hard to say/when I reach out my hand, you just turn the other way" who is pleading to be treated equally & "why do I gotta prove/I'm not one of them/I'm one of you." It's a haunting message that seems to come out of nowhere for the listener, or at least for the listener whose not quite paying attention. It's then that one realizes that many of the fun songs are filled with a line here or there that's about making the listener think. Subplot A might be fun but they've got messages of social insight they believe many should hear. The message is not always fun. It's sometimes uncomfortable. It's also something that many of us can relate to. But, they know the best way to make an uncomfortable message friendly is to cloak it under something everyone can enjoy ... before you know it you'll be singing along with an anti-racism song. What could be better? Subplot A is rare breed of band that includes a collective of talented & super creative musicians that have crafted a wonderful ... mocku fantasy of music with a message.

(No music video available.)

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