Written by Daniel Boyer, posted by blog admin
Elliot Schneider’s seventeen song opus Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase is an album out of time. Some may quibble about the length of the album, but there’s little question that an immense, virtual powder-keg of creativity explodes on this release and the extended duration will seem justified to discerning listeners because the bonus tracks provide a musical back story for Schneider’s career. Though it’s his fourth album since re-emerging in the music world after 2010, there’s still a sense of an artist recapturing lost time once you’ve taken Schneider’s personal story and his recording output into account upon appraising him. A cancer survivor, a seventy years young musical talent whose stood astride stages of famous venues like New York City’s legendary CBGB’s and brushed against greatness personified by figures like Les Paul, Elliot Schneider’s Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basketcase is an impressively creative outpouring by any standard and informed with equal parts energy and wisdom.
It makes an impressive statement from the first with the song “The Moon Has Flown Away”. The language is marvelous, but it doesn’t call attention to itself. They aren’t gaudy poetic musings but, instead, have a cumulative effect thanks to the judicious and tasteful piling on of significant detail. Schneider’s singing really brings the words to life and the warm musical backing further accentuates its qualities. Schneider certainly embraces a classic sound on this album, but it isn’t delivered like someone who considers the style akin to a butterfly pinned under glass. Schneider and his fellow musicians, instead, make a hard commitment to the music from the first note on and treat the style as a vital and relevant musical form. Energy is the order of the day on “Diehard Killjoy” and it shifts seamlessly from guitar rave ups during the instrumental breaks and churning riffing during the verses. It’s obvious the lyric is intended to be funny, but the lyric likewise has a serious bent as its subject has clearly had an effect on the singer. It’s one of the nice features of the songs that, even if it has a prime role in the instrumental makeup, Schneider brings us hard edged guitars without ever making the texture overly abrasive.
“Captain Argent” has chiming, breezy elegance and Schneider’s singing matches it with a loose confidence that puts over the song with just the right amount of strength. It’s another relatively off beat lyric from Schneider, but there’s a few songs on the album where his traditional and fundamentally solid delivery normalizes the lyric. The tempo continues to pursue an upbeat note with “Are We Only Dinosaurs?” and the approach we hear on the previous song applies here as well. His retro inclinations are more pronounced with this song, particularly with the guitars and vocal arrangement, but it never comes off so foreign to the audience that it jars our listening experience. One of the album’s abiding strengths, its vocals, reaches an apex with the song “In a Sense Innocence” and the choral approach he takes with the song’s singing dovetails nicely into the song’s airy melodicism. “Overruling Neo-Fascists” is another retro minded number musically and it’s interesting to hear such a brazenly political lyric crouched inside a jovial and melodically geared arrangement. The contrasts on Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basketcase make for compelling listening and there’s an across the board strength defining the release in other areas as well. Elliot Schneider’s skills are considerable and he has the experience to frame them in just the right way for audiences.