Saturday, June 29, 2019

Kurt Baker Combo - "(I Can't Help) Failing In Love"

How about we close out the month with something super great! You know I'm a huge fan of the Kurt Baker Combo, so it's likely I'd write a positive review even if they put out a whole album of a cappella covers of hair metal songs (wait, that actually sounds kind of awesome!). But in all honesty, I must say the band's new 7" on Wicked Cool Records is probably its best release to date. "(I Can't Help) Failing In Love" is Baker's first 7" with the Combo since 2015. Note the spelling on the title track. This isn't the Elvis song. It's an original number that Baker co-wrote with his longtime collaborator Wyatt Funderburk and producer Mike Mariconda. Given Funderburk's involvement, you would expect a little of that old Brand New Beat/Brand New B Sides magic. And if that's what you're expecting, you will not be disappointed! "(I Can't Help) Failing In Love" hits that sweet spot where classic power pop meets early '80s radio hit rock. And when I say "hit", I'm not kidding. Oh my god, those hooks! This is probably the "poppiest" track Baker has released since signing to Wicked Cool. And if you think I mean that as anything but a supreme compliment, you don't know me very well. It's great to hear Baker flex those power pop muscles again. And it sure doesn't hurt that his band mates (Juancho Lopez on bass, Jorge Colldan on lead guitar, and Sam Malakian on drums) rock this number into next week! On the flip side, "Pack My Bags" has a "Joe Jackson circa 1980" feel to it. I've got no complaints about that at all! This Baker/Mariconda original does a magnificent job of playing up the Combo's formidable chops in a way that fully serves the song. And you are likely to find yourself whistling that melody all day!

 "(I Can't Help) Failing In Love" was executive produced by Wicked Cool's very own Steven Van Zandt. This is a case where the artist, label, and producer all clearly shared a vision for what a good 7" record ought to be. You've got the perfect pop hit backed with a B-side that actually gets you excited to flip over the record. Of course these songs are great in a digital format as well. But this single was obviously designed to be a 45, and I highly recommend enjoying it in that fashion. I envision this record in a jukebox or topping a pile of 45s next to your bedroom turntable. My Italian friends should watch out for the Kurt Baker Combo coming your way live July 10-12!


1 comment:

johnnybgoode said...

Hey, I agree! Failing in love is the best 45 of the summer. I am not a huge Kurt fan like many people, but this song has some HUGE hooks and big production. thanks.