Love Potions And Snake Oil
[Shut Up & Play! Records (2010)]
Comparing a new artist to a more established one isn’t necessarily a fair tactic but it’s a common one in the world of music criticism. In this case it’s hard to resist comparing D. B. Rielly, an accordion-toting singer-songwriter, to another performer who has been around for quite a bit longer but who is still woefully unknown outside his hometown of Vancouver, B.C., Gary Comeau (no relation to this reviewer and not to be confused with singer Frederick Gary Comeau), a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter who also plays the accordion. More to the point, both Comeau and Rielly play wide-ranging roots music with an occasional zydeco flavour and their voices could almost be mistaken one for the other.
The ten songs on Love Potions and Snake Oil, an album which comes in an attractive metal canister that resembles a cigar tin, evoke a variety of moods. “Don’t Give Up on Me” sounds as if it could have come out of the Southwest region of Texas, while “I Got a Girlfriend” is a zydeco song, albeit one with amusingly depraved lyrics. “Loving You Again” could almost pass for a Dave Edmunds track. “Changed My Mind” and “Got a Mind,” two successive tracks that don’t feature accordion, are both compelling blues. “We’re All Going Straight to Hell,” the antithesis of a gospel song [ed note: my personal favorite track on the album], is rollicking fun. Rielly’s next album will be one to watch for, not only for the quality of the music but also to see how it’ll be packaged.
—Paul E. Comeau (Comeauville, NS. Canada)