When the wife’s a way, the men make Bread …at least Rick Altizer does. You’ll understand…..
Independent release (available on CD Baby)
10 tracks / 37:49
It’s been nine years since we’ve had a new music project from Rick Altizer – which is about eight and a-half years too long. The good news is that Altizer took advantage of some alone-time (while his wife was visiting family) and – in ten days – produced Bread, a lean, no-filler collection of power-pop with a rock edge. This is classic Altizer – melodic, infectious, hook-laden pop masterpieces with echoes of The Beatles, The Stones, Adrian Belew, After the Fire and others, all mixed with Rick’s own special sound and sensibility.
Pleasantly basic in approach, Bread is free from horns, synth solos, and strings – instead, Altizer’s music is filled with great vocal melodies and harmonies and standard rock instrumentation. Guitars, bass, and ALL vocals are performed by Altizer - the drums are sampled, and sound fantastic. The Altizer sound is instantly identifiable – and fans will be happy to know that Rick is back full-strength, complete with George Harrison-like solo guitar parts and Keith Richards chord work.
Altizer’s lyrics this go-round are introspective and spiritual – not as cynical or pointed as his previous concept album, The Rise and Fall of $am. The lyrics on Bread are in many ways closer to his wonderful Scripture Memory – Pop Symphonies project (which is absolutely a must-have and well-worth checking out). Scriptures say that ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,’ so apparently there’s plenty of scripture coming from Altizer’s heart on this album. Mark 9:24 is the impetus for the leading song, “Help My Unbelief,” the title track seems to be a retelling of Luke 11, and “Nothing You Can Do” paraphrases Romans 8:38 (and really rocks, by the way). Less spiritually-oriented is Rick’s Altizer-ized cover of McCartney’s “Jet” – one of two cover-versions on the project. The other cover is Altizer’s very deliberately-paced version of Dylan’s “In the Garden.” So, did I just never realize that there’s some Dylan in Rick’s vocal timbre or is that just something that happens when you’re a vocal chameleon?
“Another Yesterday” (no, not another McCartney reference) talks about a longing to do things differently, now given the gift (?) of hind-sight. “Orphan” is a wonderfully arranged celebration of who we are in Christ – the back-up vocals are amazing. “Better Than the Best Things and “More Beautiful” are each songs of appreciation and love.
You need Bread – come on, we all do. Rick’s home-made brand will feed you well. Lots of good stuff in there. You’ve been feeding on too much ear-candy, anyway.
You can get a full loaf at www.rickaltizer.com
- Bert Saraco
- 4 ½ Tocks
You can see concert photography by Bert Saraco at: