Forward Motion 2022
Half-century into its existence, “Something/Anything?” gets honored by the next generation of fans and followers.
On the one hand, it might have been easy for Fernando Perdomo to gather a bunch of friends to cover Todd Rundgren’s most famous album in full, because “Something/Anything?” was inherently immensely varied in stylistic terms; on the other hand, it could be nigh on impossibly difficult to retain the classic record’s integrity, because it was a creative product of a single, and singular, mind. Still, Fernando – a Todd aficionado who fashioned an instrumental homage to his hero as well as a tribute to one of Paul McCartney‘s acclaimed platters in 2021: respectively, a solo offering “TRGTR” and a multi-musician "Ram On" – is experienced enough to perform such a trick. The driving force behind most of the tracks on display, Perdomo found kindred spirits with Rundgren’s songs firmly ingrained in their DNA, to an extent where leaving an artist’s individual imprint on a perennial piece doesn’t require a lot of effort, so the original flow gets reproduced flawlessly, with flair, up to replicating a parade of studio sounds in the spoken-word “Intro” and a few familiar effects here and there to pepper fresh readings of the 50-year-old numbers.
Of course, many a follower will focus on the progressive “The Night The Carousel Burned Down” which Todd’s lieutenant Kasim Sulton delivers so vibrantly, or on vigorous “Breathless” in which Fernando and Jordan Rudess uncover a fusion fervor and a pinch of rockabilly, yet arguably, there’s no better way to begin reimagining “Something/Anything?” than giving “I Saw The Light” to Louise Goffin to wrap her velvet pipes around it and Marcella Detroit to back the pop-princess, as Perdomo’s electric sitar and Darian Sahanaja’s vibes spice it up to create a boudoir aroma. But if Probyn Gregory infuses “Cold Morning Light” with a gorgeous, glorious intimacy and glimmering reeds, and Geoff Pearlman informs “Sweeter Memories” with rapturously romantic, slider-oiled air, while Ken Sharp leads “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” towards harmonic horizon, Rob Bonfiglio invites Durga McBroom to help him transform “Black Maria” into a heavy slice of soul-shattering gospel.
Even more impressive is James Booth’s metallic drive of “Little Red Lights” in the raging company of Scrote’s guitar, Arlan Fieles’ piano and Carmine Appice‘s drums, or Marshall Crenshaw’s jangle distilling of “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” to its lyrical essence, whereas Dode Prickett’s camping up of “Piss Aaron” and Brent Bourgeois’ jazzing up of “Hello It’s Me” are deliciously subtle. Further on, what Dave Shulz’s ivories and Lyle Workman’s six strings do on “Some Folks Is Even Whiter Than Me” is truly tremendous, and INTOICXATS – fronted by TR’s wife Michele – provide “You Left Me Sore” with a night club atmosphere. There’s also a smattering of bonuses allowing Adrian Bourgeois’ nuanced psychedelia – quite spectacular on “Song Of The Viking” too – to win over Victor Wainwright’s faithful pop slant on “Saving Grace” or compare Van Duren’s majestic view of “Torch Song” to Bruce McDaniel’s enchanted, cello-drenched pining.
The double perspective enhances this double album that, on the one hand, is a reflection of a much-loved one and, on the other hand, can work on its own because what’s laid out has a respectfully daring spirit about its authentic, albeit personal, interpretations of the material that stood the test of time – of which “Someone/Anyone?” is an extra proof.