CD projects from local acts have been hitting the store shelves in in unbelievable numbers over the past few months. Digital technology is making it easier for local musicians to get their music on disc, and it's encouraging them to be more creative about how they do it. It would seem that this boom in do-it-yourself music making would result in a glut of unimpressive albums, but the talents of local musicians and recording engineers seem to be keeping up with the advances in technology. Every local CD I've heard over the past few months has not sounded obviously like a locally produced effort, and Click is possibly the cleanest (and most ambitious) of the lot.
The music of Chad Beck, Tad Daigle and Peter Jacobs has been evolving steadily for years. The three have been playing together (along with a succession of drummers) since they were tiny boys, but I first became acquainted with them a few years ago when they were calling themselves Senator Dillwilly. The band has come a long way since the Dillwilly days; there's still a lot of straight ahead pop/rock to be found in the music of Jackie Fly, but it's hiding behind a lot of sophisticated electronic tomfoolery. It's an approach that could easily have gone awry, but it didn't.
The disc means business from the start; "Into the Vacuum" launches with no-nonsense rock guitars, and it shoots hook after hook at the listener. The smooth pop continues with friendly (and terribly catchy) ditties like "New Girl" and "Mr. Splinter." There's even an old Dillywilly tune here ("Twisting Trees") but it's accessorized to the point that it's barely recognizable as the same song on the ancient Sometimes Obvious CD.
Don't think that Click is all sweetness and light, though. Beck and the guys have obviously been listening to stuff like Nine Inch Nails, and there's a fair dose of angst to be found on the album. When it's tempered with a bit of hyperactivity, like on "Stuck in Chicago," it's a fun kind of angst ã but sometimes it's a little over-the-top; "No Good to Nobody" rants as bitterly as any Trent Reznor tune (so much so that the more weak-stomached inhabitants of the WhatzUp offices refuse to listen to it).
Perhaps the best thing about Click is the scope of the thing. It's a big album; it contains 19 tracks that will take up 71 minutes of your time. There's even some nicely recorded live stuff thrown in. You'll certainly get your money's worth if you buy this CD.
Hopefully, Click is more than just a good CD. Maybe it's an indication of even better things to come, both from Jackie Fly and the Fort Wayne music scene in general.
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