One of the first articles I ever wrote (professionally) was a
pre-show piece about a Chicago area band called The Ike Reilly
Assassination. Sadly, that show was cancelled due to a classic
rock'n'roll ailment: broken down van syndrome. I had caught one
of their shows at a St. Joseph, Missouri bar named The Bone in
2005; what I said about that show was "it was maybe the best
six dollars I ever spent and it was one of the most intimate,
entertaining shows that I had ever seen."
The band's 2005 release, Junkie Faithful, was chock full
of exceptional lyrics, acoustic ballads and Bob Dylan-esque
laments and protest; it was a quality album but it didn't show
the full potential that I believed was lurking just below the
surface in Mr. Reilly and his topnotch band, The Assassination.
With their follow up to Faithful, this year's We Belong
To The Staggering Evening, the balls, darkness and power of
the band is fully realized; making for one of the best albums
of the year. Evening explodes out of the gate with the raucous
"8 More Days Till The 4th of July", a piano and gospel
tinged song about the heavenly subjects of arson and drugs.
"When Irish Eyes are Burning" celebrates Ike's Chicago
Irish upbringing with absolute carefree abandon with a tune, about,
of all things, going to a Violent Femmes show, getting
drunk and watching a buddy get into a fist fight with a lesbian
named Tank. All the while, The Assassination plays an energetic,
bouncy type of music that fits perfectly with the action of the
story. "Valentine's Day In Juarez" plays like an updated
version of Dylan's " Rainy Day Women 12 and 35" complete
with harmonica, stoned-out slow tempo and a list of all the good
drugs to do and the interesting ways to spend a holiday in Mexico.
Ike Reilly is a storyteller of the highest degree; he touches
on all the highest highs and lowest lows that come with life.
He tells the truth even when the truth hurts. Reilly knows that
being alive means feeling pain, loss and rejection and in the
spirit of punk rock, he's not afraid to throw it in your face.
We Belong To The Staggering Evening is a totally American
album; Ike and the boys mix elements of Johnny Cash style
country with jazz, blues, soul, gospel and rock to make a music
that is as blue-collar, if not more so, than that of Springsteen.
The Assassination brings accessibility to rock and roll that unfortunately
has been gone from the genre for too long. Ike, Dave Cottini
(drums), Tommy O'Donnell (bass), Phil Karnats (guitar)
and Ed Tinley (piano) are honest men in a world of hypocrites
thank God there's a few of those left.
-Danny R. Phillips
1. 8 More Days Till The 4th of July
2. When Irish Eyes Are Burning
3. Valentine's Day in Juarez
4. Fish Plant Uprising
5. I Hear The Train
6. Broken Parakeet Blues
7. It's Hard To Make Love
8. Let's Get Friendly
9. You're So Plain
10. Charcoal Days and Sterling Nights
11. Bugsy Salcido Has Fled The Desert
12. The Nighttime Is A Liar
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