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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cookie Rabinowitz - Four Eyed Soul

Cookie Rabinowitz - Four Eyed Soul
2014, Cookie Rabinowitz

Cookie Rabinowitz is something of a mystery, a musician who offers little in the way of biography or explanation. There is no spin, no brooding sense of presentation. There’s just the music, a mix of soul, funk and pop that at its best will make you want to get up and dance.  On January 4, 2014, Rabinowitz will drop a full length album entitled Four Eyed Soul.  1970’s soul and funk are the musical base, while Rabinowitz opines in a neo-urban patois full of irony and occasionally, pastiche.

Rabinowitz opens with "Sing Alone, Sing Along", a funk-laden ode to isolation gone global. This is a toe-tapper with more depth than you might pick up on the first time through. "Crakka Smile" glories in its retro-1970's sound, from the funky syrup of the guitar fills to the smooth as silk horn section. Rabinowitz has something of a limited voice, but like a professional he knows how to mine its limits to near perfection.  "Every St." is a piece of gentle, rhythmic pop music with sparse electronic elements and sincere commercial potential. "Life On Mars" is a lazy piece of dream-pop with funky rhythms. In spite of this the energy is fairly flat, and Rabinowitz sounds like he's sleep walking here. 

"Pass You By" reclaims a bit of the energy shown early on by Rabinowitz, but seems locked in its own culture of cliché. In spite of this, the arrangement is crafted from the sort of sticky, soul/funk you just can't get out of your head. Rabinowitz trips on his own snarky self-assurance with "Text You With My Mouth", which is as frighteningly awkward as the title suggests.  Rabinowitz spends much of "Get Your Own" in his lower register amidst muddy pitch control and a heavy breathing vocal style that's unappealing. 

Rabinowitz falls into a rut with "Blue", "Underground" and "Self-Loathing" where the need to craft songs has perhaps surpassed inspiration. He recovers a bit on "Rock & Roll Karaoke"; an almost careless pop confection that tries too hard to be hip bit nevertheless has its own spark.  "More Tired Than Lonely" has a lackluster feel, a motif that carries over into the tired closing track, "Talking To Pigeons". 

Four Eyed Soul brings elements of geek rock and soul together in its best moments, but Cookie Rabinowitz stretches his best material much too thin by including a fair amount of filler to achieve his vision of a full-length release.  A more compact album would cut out some of the chaff and present Rabinowitz in a more impressive light. That is not to deny Rabinowitz at his best, there is some outstanding music on Four Eyed Soul, but there are also some fairly low energy moments that will leave listeners stranded. Take Four Eyed Soul for what it is; an uneven album with some really great moments that are worth sticking around for.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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