Ted McCloskey's One Night Bland is a sprawling 23-track romp that serves up a snarling type of rock and roll that just isn't made anymore.
On it, he explores characters lost and not-likely-found anytime soon; if at all. The songs develop in a series of rapid-fire, pulsating, exposed nerve-endings that hit with focused power, using previously unearthed, glam-influenced, loud, electric guitars, and a stony glare aimed squarely at the target; day-to-day malaise.
The fake, unhappy, cartoon figures on the cover indicate as much.
In McCloskey's words:
"It is more of a collection of short stories than one overall novel. That is pretty much the idea. It is 23 different characters living one night, which is their every night. It is how they spend their tilt a whirl lives...whether it is drinking, not sleeping, longing, dancing with strangers, 3am phone liaisons, trying to get in the center of attention, or falling in love every two minutes."
It is also rock n' roll. Nasty, loud, sinewy rock n' roll that makes your ears burn and your legs jittery.
That the songs are sturdy and the guitars loud is not a surprise. One Man Misery Parade, McCloskey's first album, was a downcast, low-key first effort that effectively chronicled a disastrous break-up as late night reverie (it is also featured in the remixes section of One Night Bland). His Emmy Award winning work scoring documentary films brought a narrative quality to his music. The stunning Who's Gonna Listen Anyway and its predecessor Sixty Cycle Hum really started upping the electrical ante. And with 2007's Technicolor Thieves, he lended disenfranchisement his own unique voice and sound. One night bland stands as highly refined chaos in a catalog already filled-to-the-brim with tales of outsider-ness, cynicism, vitriol, and other lost-cause malaises.
McCloskey doesn't have the big pocket resources to promote the record properly. You'll probably not stumble across his music on any left-of-the-dial radio stations. Hell, you'd never even know he existed without being here. All he has is his music, this website, and a couple of very cool self-produced videos.
If you have been lucky enough to catch him and his crackin' band, the Hi-Fi's, you get the feeling you have seen something special. It's pure energy; it's a "raunch and roll" show that has opened shows for notables such as Alejandro Escovedo and Ryan Adams. If you are not one of the lucky ones, you'll have to settle for the CD's and you won't be sorry.