Doesn’t Quite Hit The Mark
In life, breaking up is hard to do. In music, listening to a break-up record can be equally as difficult. The break-up record is to the singer/songwriter as the Hail Mary is to a NFL quarterback: oft-attempted but hardly ever successful. Usually melodramatic and gloomy, these albums often serve better as therapy for the musician than as solid musical contributions (a recent exception being Beckâ€šÃ„Ã´s mopey gem Sea Change.) Enter Mark Ramos-Nishita, aka Money Mark, a producer-extraordinaire with a side gig as a carpenter who turned a handyman maintenance job into a musical career spinning for the Beastie Boys. Ramos-Nishita has released the innovative mish-mashings of Markâ€šÃ„Ã´s Keyboard Repair and Change Is Coming, as well as the catchy pop sounds of Push The Button. Ramos-Nishita wields an impressive resume indeed, which offers hope to the hypothesis that Brand New By Tomorrow will be more thrilling than your average break-up record.
In some ways the theory holds true. Ramos-Nishitaâ€šÃ„Ã´s influences are first-rate and his subtle tributes are a jaunt through the mind of someone who loves music. â€šÃ„ÃºEvery Day I Die A Littleâ€šÃ„Ã¹ could have been recorded for The Beatlesâ€šÃ„Ã´ White Album, â€šÃ„ÃºSummer Bluesâ€šÃ„Ã¹ grooves on a funky, Beck-inspired bass line and â€šÃ„ÃºRadiate Nothingâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a dead-on impersonation of the other great Elvis: Costello. Unfortunately, Ramos-Nishitaâ€šÃ„Ã´s shift to his own voice doesnâ€šÃ„Ã´t translate as well. The rest of Brand New shrivels into an uninspiring blend of break-up record clichâˆšÂ©s. From dull (â€šÃ„ÃºNice To Meâ€šÃ„Ã¹) and tedious (â€šÃ„ÃºMy Loss, Your Gainâ€šÃ„Ã¹) to predictable (â€šÃ„ÃºPretend To Sleepâ€šÃ„Ã¹ opens with â€šÃ„ÃºTalk to me / Did I see your eyes start to roll?â€šÃ„Ã¹), Brand New hits all the wrong branches on the way down.
While Ramos-Nishita offers enjoyable moments, listeners will certainly walk away feeling glad that Money Mark is having a good cry and getting this one out of his system.