Notes On A Napkin
Here on Allan Kaplon’s most recent album, Notes On A Napkin, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based singer, songwriter and guitarist is joined by a cast of acclaimed individuals from the alternative music community.
There’s Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel from The Spongetones, Pop Co-Op’s Stacy Carson, The Amazing Elena Rogers, Rick Blackwell, Jason Atkins, Russ Bettenbaugh, Eric Lovell, James Brock, Gigi Dover and Deanna Campbell. To top it off, Dan Pavelich of The Click Beetles, creator of the Just Say Uncle cartoon and editor of this spiffy publication, designed the striking art work on the album.
While Allan’s deep and husky burr is more inclined to be associated with pedal steel guitars, dobros and mandolins than the mercurial pop rock hues and cues gracing Notes On A Napkin, his rustic vocals supply an original and appealing slant to the material.
The title track of the album thrums to an edgy intensity, complemented by slinky and snarling guitar licks. Local Bus Station starts out draped in quirky reggae regalia, then abruptly escalates into a racing power-popping rocker. Also slapped on the rocking side of the coin is Flesh And Blood, a swinging neo- boogie number consisting of stabbing hooks, quicksilver rhythms, a burly backbeat and ripped riffs. In addition, there is O’Henry’s Late Night Run, which is laced with a choppy funk bent.
Festive orchestration containing dizzy squiggles and sound effects frame One Big Parade, and Every Single Day checks in as a crisp and catchy slice of mid-tempo folk pop sporting a heartfelt sentiment. Not surprisingly, there are a couple of country-styled songs on the album, specifically the swooning Slow Down Cowboy and Wonder Where The Angels Are, a bright and becoming gem charted of stirring melodies and jangling guitars.
Further marked by blustery harmonies, inspiring arrangements, snappy keyboard fills and sharp storytelling, Notes On A Napkin is an all-around pleasure. Prepared to be entertained and enlightened!