The Incurables: Far Away

“Far Away” is available for purchase on the Big Stir Digital Singles page.

The Incurables’ debut single on Big Stir Records, “Far Away” b/w “Soda Pop” has arrived, and it’s an immediate confirmation of the drum I’ve been banging since I first heard the band last year…this band and this record label are a perfect match, and this union was written in the stars as the most inevitable moment of 2020. It was worth the wait.

The quickest way to define The Incurables…depending on how much time you have to spend on the subject…is “great rock and roll.” No matter what thread of the conversation you begin with, they’re all going to lead you back to that one inescapable conclusion. This band knows the secret handshake of rock and roll…everything rock could be and should be, from the moment Elvis Aaron Presley made teens scream in Memphis to the time garage doors rolled up all over America and issued torrents of fuzz and feedback and all points in between, this band is rock and roll. You can drill down as far as you’d like on the analysis, but you’ll arrive at the same destination. they take the credo of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re comin’ to your town, we’ll help ya party it down, we’re an American Band” lyrics to a level that would make a Viking blush.

They’re equal doses of Iggy & The Stooges and The Three Stooges…there’s always raw power to spare, and good-natured, self-effacing, goofy, over-the-top humor to spare. It was evident in their video for “Down,” in which they emerge from their “tour bus” to lay waste to a suburban home, in which the inhabitants already have a good head start on them:

They have a few secret weapons in their arsenal, which they employ at will and as needed. For starters, bassist Ray Lawson is no simple “timekeeper.” He takes a page from the book of greats like John Entwistle, often carrying the song’s melody line and propelling a song in equal measure with Pat Kelly’s guitar. When you add Darrin Lawson’s drums to the mix, you have Who-level anarchy in the U.S.A….these guys mean business and are shot out of a cannon at the drop of a four-count.

Along the way, any number of sub-genres can emerge…garage, punk, British Invasion, pop…sometimes all within the same song…and they weave effortlessly between wherever they need to be in the moment of attack. The “About” section of The Incurables’ Facebook page describes the band as “Guitar Driven High Energy Harmonic indie Garage Rock at your service! Headquartered right in the Heart of the Ann Arbor/Detroit Metropolitan Area,” and that’s all true, but it’s really only the “Foreword” of the book, the intro, before you find yourself immersed in the first chapter.

“Far Away” begins with a blast of chugging punk energy…“Your face is like a dream, whenever I close my eyes it makes me scream…” The next line, “I love you more than I can say,” is met with a Fab-Fourish response vocal of “I don’t know why, I don’t know why”…you get this immediate flash of Paul and George sharing a mic for the “OOOOOO” in “She Loves You”…There are little accent blasts along the way, such as the 1:10 mark where Pat unleashes a split-second surf guitar-via-Johnny Ramone lick…blink and you miss it, but you don’t wanna miss it. The song has a fantastic, phased bridge…“Why…are you…still here,” with the punk energy swelling and stopping on a dime before the guitar solo, angular and biting, a secret formula of Bob Quine / Tom Verlaine / Richard Lloyd meets surf meets George Harrison and Ron Asheton, before careening into the “I love you more when you’re gone, gone, gone, far away” finale, and the song has a fake ending, winding down, and most appropriately, ending on a single bass note from Ray…all of that in a taut and tasty three minutes and 28 seconds.

“Soda Pop” is a song whose framework and lyrics exist primarily for the band to romp (think Neil Young & Crazy Horse on “T-Bone,” which consisted of “Got mashed potatoes, ain’t got no t-bone..”). Ray kicks off the track with a vaguely James Bond-ish lick, joined by Darrin’s drums and then short, staccato bursts from Pat’s guitar. and more Quine/Verlaine/Lloyd slithery, Middle-Eastern, dissonant licks. “You say soda, we say pop, just depends on where you’ve been…” And then there’s the tip-off, the lyric that lets you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are on The Incurables’ home turf…“It comes in a bottle, it comes in a can, it’s made for a woman, it’s made for a man…” YEAH! WHOOO! “FREE BIRD!” Because the power of this band is that they can turn any song they damn well please into their own anthem, their own “Free Bird.” Pump your fist in the air and bang your head along with them, you ARE the party, the band is there to light your fuse, and they do it in spades on this track. “It’s always best, when it’s cold, but don’t shake it up, it might explode…” You know, at this point, I’m thinking there’s a 50-50 chance that this song isn’t literally about “soda pop,” but WHO CARES? It’s The Cretin Hop all over again, such a good time for all that asking “what” and “why” only amounts to a massive buzzkill. Just let it go and have the time of your life. And if that’s not enough, there’s another brilliant solo from Pat, all Stooges “No Fun” energy to spare.

This single bodes well for the future of the band, as well as a fruitful, ongoing relationship with Big Stir. Their home may be Detroit, but they are equally at home in Burbank with the Big Stir family of artists. This one was worth waiting for, folks. Grab a copy today.