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CD Reviews: Review of Junkie Faithful by The Ike Reilly Assassination
Paulsen Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com The Ike Reilly Assassination: Junkie Faithful (Sixthman/Rock Ridge Music  2005)

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There is something cathartic about Ike Reilly’s vocals. He’s got the Midwestern rasp - sort of a turbocharged Bob Dylan – that emotes much more than the halfhearted, cooler-than-thou vocals prominent in today’s modern rock. He’s actually trying to sing, which is something that is quite apparent throughout his third album, Junkie Faithful. The bulk of the disc was written while he and his band were on tour in support of the 2004 release, Sparkle in the Finish. Faithful has the feel of a record that was written while on tour and, while a few of the songs could stand a little more work, the disc has some exceptional moments.

Take the first track, “22 Hours of Darkness.” It opens with a dirty bass line, which is a bit reminiscent of U2’s “Zoo Station,” before Reilly’s unique pipes and folksy guitar morph the song into a teenage angst fest. His tribute to Dylan is “The Mixture” – he even raps a little like ol’ Bob did. But the song doesn’t really hit its stride until the three-minute mark, where Reilly croons, “Where were you when the wheels fell off in Birmingham? / Where were you when I shed my skin in vain?” It sounds impossible, but Reilly’s query, “Where were you?” actually rivals Dylan’s “How does it feel?”

“God and Money” is the third track and the album’s first single. It’s a slower number, setting the frontman’s vocals against an acoustic guitar with subtle drumming and the occasional accompaniment. At this point, you’ll either appreciate Reilly’s vocals or find them incredibly grating. Even if it’s the latter, be sure to give “I Will Let You Down” a few listens. The song is so simple and catchy that it could be one of the best songs on the next Wilco album. With the chorus, “I will let you down / every time I can / I will let you down / When you need me most / I will not be found,” the song is the lyrical antithesis of Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You.”

Reilly is a modern rocker with classic rock sensibilities. He’s also prolific – Faithful was released less than a year after Sparkle hit the shelves. Though he’d be better served taking a little more time with some of the weaker tracks, the good on Faithful outweighs the mediocre, establishing Ike Reilly as an artist on the rise.

~John Paulsen 


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