RICK ALTIZER - All-Tie-Zur

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These copies are the left ever copies of this particular Not Lame label release. If you do not own it, you can’t beat this last ever, lowest price ever for this release. This is it.

"Much like, oh, maybe white bread, guitar-pop uses a time-tested formula: a band with guitars, bass, and drums, and songs with verse-chorus-verse song structures and a running time between two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half minutes. It works every time. Like white bread, it’ll probably always have a place in our consciousness. But also like white bread, guitar-pop has a tendency to get stale. It’s a known occupational hazard in the rock world that if you stick to what is safe, you may sound pretty derivative. Or stale.

That’s why so many of the most successful power-pop bands of the past decade have had some sort of frill. There was the amped-up mayhem of bands like the Foo Fighters or Marvelous 3, the more pastoral leanings of the Pernice Brothers, or the studio perfection of Owsley or Fountains of Wayne. One of the most famous of these frills, however, was Matthew Sweet’s employment of guitarists Richard Lloyd (formerly of Television) and Robert Quine. While Sweet’s style was based in traditional guitar-pop, the crazy, post-punk guitar work of the aforementioned duo added the depth and originality that made several of Sweet’s ‘90s albums into classics. Altizer realizes this. His first major-market release (he used to be a Christian artist, though that’s not necessary worthy of note in regard to this release) (All Tie Zur), much like many of Sweet’s albums, makes use of squealing, out of control, absolutely fantastic guitar work. This time it’s due to the legendary Adrian Belew, former King Crimson/Frank Zappa/Talking Heads/David Bowie guitar guru. He guests on a handful of tracks here, and it is those contributions that make Altizer’s songs stand up to be heard.

It doesn’t stop there. Altizer has his own style, avoiding overuse of traditional harmonies and expending fractured hooks and heavy orchestration. It’s not often that string sections are used this way in pop music. Sure, they’re often used to add drama in ballads, but Altizer often tosses them in like he would a rhythm guitar. They’re big, forceful, and function alternately as part of the melody or the counter melody.

All of this would be window-dressing, of course, if Altizer didn’t have some good tunes. The best cut here is “Never Shake His Hand”, a charging rocker with a lyric openly questioning the existence of a God (“It’s hard to gauge the power he commands / You can never shake his hand”). The album’s single, a minor college radio hit called “John Lennon’s Glasses”, lifts some melody (and lyrics) from the Beatles “A Day in the Life”. Despite the song’s lyrical clumsiness, it’s fairly memorable and comes off as a loving tribute both to Lennon’s music and his worldview. Still, even though sonically (All Tie Zur)sounds great throughout, Altizer occasionally trips up in the lyrics department. Lines like “The city melts away then it vaporizes / Rain, you know it clears away the stars” are the stuff of mediocre pubescent poetry, not rock music, and they cloud otherwise great tunes like “Disco Ball” and “Just Because”. Many of the songs also have a very heavy, world-weary feel that has a way of making the disc drag. That might be okay if Altizer had more significant worries, but most of the weary verses, such as “The politicians all have parachutes / And all the poets carry guns / Street corner singer gets run down / Before his song is done” concern his own lack of commercial success. Heck, look no further than the album’s title-a weirdly defensive phonetic spelling of Altizer’s name-to see that maybe our pal Rick has some issues with his level of visibility. Sure, this disc deserves to sell far more copies than it will, but why whine to the people who do actually buy the album?

That’s a small argument considering what is contained here, though. (All Tie Zur) was one of the more original and interesting, even if it was not one of the best, guitar pop records of 2001. And the musical flourishes—the impressive guitar work, the strings, the bongo-heavy rhythms—may be a sign of what Altizer is capable of in the future with a more distinguished set of material."- Pop Matters