Heidecker & Wood – Some Things Never Stay The Same (Little Record Company)
Tim Heidecker, one half of the celebrated Tim and Eric comedy team, can be a tough man to read. His ultra-dry sense of humor will sometimes leave the uninitiated wondering if they truly get the joke or if the joke is in fact on them.
Heidecker’s latest project, his second album of original music with composer/writer/actor Davin Wood under the moniker Heidecker & Wood, is the musical embodiment of that comedic style – a collection that so successfully blurs the lines between parody and sincerity that you aren’t really sure if the duo is lampooning or actually paying homage to the music that inspired the project.
Heidecker & Wood is a group fixated on the sounds of the ‘70s. The pair’s first album, Starting From Nowhere, was rooted in the breezy soft rock sounds of the decade and the new collection extends the musical palette to include more of the elements that defined rock music during that time.
From a musical standpoint, Heidecker & Wood knocks it out of the park over the course of the album’s 11 tracks. The duo takes popular motifs like piano and horn-heavy instrumentation, the growing presence of synthesizers and the still-present but rapidly-receding psychedelic sound and distills them down to nice snapshot of an era.
For instance, “Sunday Man,” with its layers of sonic saturation, brooding tone and cascading synthesizer accents, could easily come from one of Pink Floyd’s less-popular albums from the ‘80s.
Both the first single, “What Else Is New,” which features sunny harmony vocals, plunky piano notes, well-placed saxophone and even a seemingly out-of-place coda, and “This Is Life,” with its funky bass lines, ride cymbal drive, stringy keyboards and Chicago-style horns, are great examples of Heidecker & Wood nailing specific sound elements associated with the ‘70s.
As a comedy vehicle, Some Things Never Stay The Same is a much more subtle affair. Despite the overt humor of the bombastic drug anthem “Cocaine” and the super-charged “Hurricane,” which includes some tasty thunder sound effects, the overall comedic aesthetic is less obvious throughout.
In fact, one of the funniest elements of this album is the straight-faced approach the artists take. If you played this for someone who didn’t know it was created by people with a comedy background, they might think it was a classic rock cut they hadn’t previously heard.
Regardless of whether you respect Tim and Davin’s ability to pen and record a catchy song, consider this a piece of high comedic art or embrace the care that went into capturing and reproducing the musical styles that defined an era, there is a lot to like on this album.