Calling Lower Back Pain’s first album “no frills” doesn’t just describe the packaging but the music as well.
The album, Picnic On The Moon. doesn’t list who is in the band, where it was recorded and who produced, if anyone.
From listening to it, presumably it’s a do-it-yourself project in which there is no double tracking nor discernible overdubs, nor trendy sounds ; just naked bass, drums, untreated guitar(s), plinky-plonky piano , vulnerable. almost frail vocals and, lastly, pervasively, an upbeat message. Certainly, the 11 songs air the concerns of four men in their late teens or early 20s, an example being the insecurity at the heart of Drinking To Fit In. This is offset by the jauntiness of opener, Turkey Sandwich, or my favorite track, Lonely.
It’s almost like hearing the first Talking Heads album for the first time, the songs being endearing and would be considered innocent if they weren’t so stylized.
Picnic On The Moon is  a very friendly record – rare these days – an unassuming record that nonetheless says “Pay attention.”
I’ve said before that confidence on record is hard to quantify. It’s something you feel.
So it is with Steve Jensen’s second album, Gimme The Goods; it just sounds like a confident progression from the first. Not that his debut was bad but it’s variety of styles and approaches spoke of someone seeking his musical identity. Gimme The Goods is as varied but is consistent. Although Jensen has indicated its nine songs came from different periods in his development, they’re here because he now knows what fits. Or how to make them fit.
Working with a new band, notably guitarist Frank Tacak, Jensen seems to have communicated his ideas better. There is more emphasis on harmonies and different textures.
Starting the album with the Latin-pop of Agua Caliente Sombero is evidence of that confidence; it certainly doesn’t prepare you for the hard-rock of Ten More Years with its Deep Purple-ish swirling organ, or the Mersey-beatish title track, or the trumpet on 200 Words that recalls The Beatles’ Penny Lane or the piano ballad and love song, Erin, which is another example of Jensen’s confidence. It probably wouldn’t have made it on to the first album.
There is one instrumental that also has become the first video. Heavy, insistent guitar gives way to a brisk second part that on the video has an assembly of friends idiot dancing. It’s called Whale Oil (Beef Hooked). I couldn’t figure that out either so I said it quickly with what I hoped was a Maritime accent. Came up with Well I’ll Be Fucked.