Written by Raymond Burris, posted by blog admin
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basketcase is an album that could have only come from one songwriter. You’ll realize that after a single spin through the eleven songs constituting Elliot Schneider’s latest solo release. It’s the latest milestone in a long career that’s largely ran undercover, yet brushed up against icons and historical moments in popular music’s history. It’s also one more in a series of intensely personal musical statements that have come from this fecund musical imagination since Schneider retired from his role as an educator and devoted his creative energies, once again, to new music. The stories of a lifetime, the triumphs and losses along the way, these are some of the essential ingredients of Elliot Schneider’s songwriting on Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basketcase and the confident spark of the unusual twists many of the tracks in an idiosyncratic direction that marks these tunes as all his own.
Some of the best numbers on the album have an uptempo pace that never hurries Schneider. There’s a steady stream of energy pouring off the opener “The Moon Has Flown Away” and it has a friendly spirit surrounding the music despite some rather downbeat lyrical content. Schneider’s talents, as evidenced by the quality of the imagery and overall writing for this tune. “Lost on the Radio” is a superbly focused rock track alternating between airy guitars and some incendiary lead work during the solo. Schneider and his collaborators prove more than once on this album to be rather expert at delivering uptempo, yet considered and melodic, AOR tracks that gain much from his evolved lyrical presence and idiosyncratic yet emotive vocals. “Captain Argent” is an even more ideal example of that locking a little more tightly on Schneider’s melodic bent than the preceding tune. The track “Are We Only Dinosaurs?” features the strongest instance of Schneider’s quirky humor on display with this new collection. There’s some pathos in the lyrics as well and the guitar really brings an understated flair to the song with its invocation of traditional rock and roll six string tropes. The little staccato flurry coming with each bar may not seem like anything much initially, but adds a low-key colorful exclamation point on the song.
He unleashes some improbably rugged guitar muscle on the workout “A Key to You” and this radio edit of a longer version packs plenty of punch for widespread airplay and is sure to garner favor with fans of heavy guitar rock. “Surreal Survivor” is a re-imagining of a track from earlier in Schneider’s solo career and this version here adopts some of the same guitar-centric attributes of the earlier song, but it’s a much more artful and dynamic mix here with lyrics that come off much more vulnerable and personal. It does have quite an assertive edge, however, at points throughout the track. “I Just Don’t Really Know If You Exist” is a well crafted and utterly bizarre ending for the studio album and has a remarkably normal texture despite the unsettled feeling coming through the lyrics and, occasionally, the music. The remaining songs on Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basketcase are pulled from various points during Schneider’s musical life prior to this album. There’s a ragged but right cover of the golden oldie “Poison Ivy”, a promising demo for a song entitled “Hopelessness (Resist Paralysis)”, and a delightful acoustic track from a 1982 rehearsal called “Any Angel Can Have Me” that deserve the bulk of listener’s attention. They are a nice, though utterly non-essential, addition to the package for casual listeners, but anyone who’s encountering Schneider’s work for the first time and curious about what a major league talent like this has been doing all these years will find their inclusion quite illuminating. Don’t Put All Your Eggs into One Basketcase is a powerful and wildly imaginative clinic both from a performing and songwriting perspective.