James Kolchalka Superstar, Spread Your Evil Wings And Fly | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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James Kolchalka Superstar, Spread Your Evil Wings And Fly 

Published August 29, 2006 at 8:32 p.m.

(Rykodisc, CD)

Two years in the making and nearly as long in limbo, James Kochalka Superstar's Spread Your Evil Wings and Fly is finally here. Rykodisc is responsible for much of the delay; seems they wanted to give his "best of," Our Most Beloved, a chance to find an audience before offering more product. After Kochalka's "Hockey Monkey" was chosen as the theme song to Fox sitcom "The Loop," it was time to unleash the evil.

Kochalka is a name brand in the underground comic community, but he's far less known in the music world. This could soon change, as Evil Wings is his finest work yet. It's got all the wackiness fans have come to expect, but with an extra dose of rock.

Backing Kochalka on the disc are Jason Cooley, Pascal Spengemann, Creston Lea and Neil Cleary. Spengemann and Cleary are on drum detail; Cooley plays several instruments including bass and guitar; Lea adds axe crunch. In addition to production duties, Peter Katis handles organ, keys and programming.

Following a brief instrumental, the disc kicks off with "Cocaine," which should not be confused with the J.J. Cale-penned, Eric Clapton-popularized number. Kochalka's ode to the white stuff is completely ruckus-ready. "If I should stay up all night / roaming streets and starting fights / Punching strangers in the eye / Baby knows the reason why: Cocaine!" he sings in a strangled tenor.

The drug connotations continue on "Stash in a Box." The song describes cute woodland animals raiding some well-hidden weed. "You took a toke from my private stash, now I'm gonna kick your fluffy ass," Kochalka threatens.

The majestic "Britney's Silver Can" is an ode to pop trainwreck and new mom Britney Spears. The song dates itself by referring to her brief relationship with Justin Timberlake, but the a cappella chant of her ex-beau's name is priceless.

Other highlights include "This Is How We Rock in America," a muscular, Ramones-esque shout-along. "Pascal and Creston, they both hate Jason / And I know that Jason, he hates both of them / But we are united, together as one . . . 'Cause this is how we rock in America," Kochalka bellows. Conflict resolution through superior amplification?

The disc wraps up with the title track, a chunk of nerdy goth-pop to sink your plastic fangs into. Could this be the album that makes an honest superstar out of Kochalka? I'd bet my evil wings on it.

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About The Author

Casey Rea

Casey Rea

Casey Rea was the Seven Days music editor from 2004 until 2007. He won the 2005 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.


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