Centro-matic – Candidate Waltz [Album Review]

by Woody on June 22, 2011

A few weeks back, Shirk and I were talking about the logistics of a potential Centro-matic live session. Unfortunately schedules didn’t work out, but Shirk asked me to describe them. I said the session would similar to The Mother Hips. Like Tim Bluhm and Greg Loicano, I imagine Will Johnson to be the quintessential pro that would just lead his band in for a cracking session – everything nailed on the first take. And like The Hips, Centro-matic has managed to become one of America’s most under-appreciated bands, flying under the radar as they continually produce some of the best music around under the names Centr-matic and South San Gabriel.

Candidate Waltz is not Centro-matic’s first album, but it sure does sound that way. The album’s sound is fresh and full of energy. They sound hungry and the album is no shrinking violet as it comes banging out of your speaker. Johnson has this to say on their site:

I’d just hate for people to say, ‘It’s the same ol’ Centro-matic record.’ Do we go back and do the old things that please everyone, or go in the direction that challenges us and scares us? Because that’s where you learn things about your craft.

“All The Talkers” is phenomenal, painting a scene at a club where the band fights through all the bullshit-hipsters, talkers and posers to win over the crowd. Johnson paints the scene like this:

Talkers’ is an attempt to tell a story. As rock fans we’ve all witnessed it, and I love seeing it happen—when an unexpected comes through town and blows the doors off the joint.

The outro for this song is great as Johnson fades off singing, “It was not like the night before.”

Johnson further describes Candidate Waltz as the band’s “meat-and-potatoes pop record.” I’ll describe it as infectious, addicting and just plain ol’ fantastic. They are playing at Schubas in Chicago on July 3rd and – take it from me – Centro-matic is a real treat to see live.

Video: Centro-Matic – Only In My Double Mind

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