Well & Goode, Well & Goode

Well & Goode, Well & Goode

So, the two-song 7″ Well & Goode is supposedly the product of a mysterious, possibly psychotic duo of adopted Irishmen, Upton O. Goode and Midas Wells, who stalked power-pop hero Brendan Benson over the course of his last overseas tour. Benson ended up feeling bad for the weirdos and, instead of getting restrained orders filed, he recruited friend Mark Watrous to help him record the pair. Still feeling cautious, however, Benson refused to actually meet the two yahoos ’til the release party for the 7″, but now (naturally) they’re all good friends.

All of which is undoubtedly crap, of course. It’s an entertaining backstory, sure, but it does a bit of a disservice to the two tracks of bouncy, jaunty, seriously ’70s-ified pop etched into the vinyl; Benson and cohort Watrous (who’s toured with Benson as a road member of The Raconteurs) probably would’ve been better off just being themselves, because that’s pretty obviously what this is.

But hey, I’m not going to hold a grudge about it. The goofy it-wasn’t-us, it-was-these-other-guys shitck can’t totally take down how good the songs here happen to be, and that’s a very cool thing. “Spray Tan,” the A-side, is funky yet morose, jangling and bopping like a somewhat cheeseball lounge band playing at a hotel bar down by the airport; beneath the deft funk, however, there’s a subtle jab about modern life and appearances and happiness. B-side “Two Birds” is a bit more straightforward, a bluesy, bouncing, jaunty piece of folk-pop with rapid-fire lyrics, gorgeous harmonies, and it reminds me weirdly of Zeppelin (except for the round-sounding keys Watrous provides, mind you).

Neither track is much like what I’ve heard from Benson solo or The Raconteurs before now, so maybe that’s the reason for the pseudo-secrecy right there; Benson and Watrous wanted the freedom to do something a little different, a little earthier, a little funkier, more retro-sounding, without risking people scratching their heads. I get that, definitely — in this particular case, though, I think they would’ve been fine to just hand it to their fans and let them decide for themselves. I’m betting there would’ve been a lot of smiles in the room.

[Brendan Benson is playing 11/27/10 at Groundhall, along with The Posies & Aqueduct.]
(Readymade Records; Brendan Benson -- http://brendanbenson.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, November 27th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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