Aside from co-starring in my second favorite horror film of all time (more on that in an upcoming interview), COURTNEY GAINS has realized a dream that a very small percentage of actors and musicians see come to life – that of working in his chosen field for nigh on four decades. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, look, there’s this fancy schmancy “internet” thing. You’ll recognize him. But this here’s about the music so, as the Looney Tunes theme song says, “On with the show, this is it!”.
‘Safe Haven’ begins with a guitar phrasing that blends surf tone and Western film soundtrack before relaxing into a funky blues (or is it bluesy funk?), GAINS’ wistful timbre wrapping itself effortlessly around a lyric than manages to be sentimental without becoming sugar-coated. A rollicking juke joint piano drives ‘The Healer’, the horn section punctuating with sonic exclamation points here and there, but smoothly along for the ride until the bridge of “Relax, let go / Let me take control” arrives, a ghostly blue haze before the main riff returns, the band sounding like a band instead of the slapped-together impression most “vanity projects” leave us with.
‘Big Brother’ swings and sways, bits of West Coast blues grabbing onto a passing American roots rock rollercoaster, this tune from the band-turned-film Benny Bliss And The Disciples Of Greatness. For you ‘50s / ‘60s rock fans, ‘Bills In Space’ is the soundtrack to a sock hop tongue-lashing of those who drop enough cash (wait, who uses cash anymore?!) to fund all the public schools in Silicon Valley for eternity for a few minutes in their mid-life crisis dick, so they can look down on all us “below them”. I digress.
With the aptly titled ‘Good Times’, Safe Haven returns to a groovy grind, but still shot through with the blues rock, almost akin to early BLASTERS or FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS, that seems to be GAINS’ comfort zone, and closing out this EP in fine fashion.
Actors making music is often proof positive that “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” With Safe Haven, COURTNEY GAINS now joins those few exceptions, including Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges, an outlander and proud.
Review By: Lord Randall
Safe Haven [EP]
Fake Fangs Records