Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Oct. 22, 2004
Ethan AzarianCaptain of the Town (Jim Thunder) This truly is a "Family Affair." While the album cover says "Ethan Azarian," this is the resurrection of the Orange Mothers. Azarian, James Welch, and Jeff Johnston, along with longtime local peers Nina Singh, Vance Hazen, and Cuddy play with all the élan that Austinites flocked to the Hole in the Wall to experience over the last decade. If Welch and Johnston (as well as Austin expat Tim Audy) are the Orange Mothers, then Azarian is the Captain of the Town. He achieves juvenility where there should be work ethic, and thank the God of Slack for that. Just two songs about birds lovable opener "Love Birds" and the more melancholic "Little Bird" plus, of course, "Family Affair: Part Three" not only breed familiarity and nostalgia, they also serve as a reminder of worry-free days. Remember those? Captain's title track should serve as the Austin Chamber of Commerce's theme, but then politicos rarely go for good-natured, jubilant folk stories. "Josephine" springs from the wooden floors of Irish pubs with Dylan at the helm. "Oh, Devil" crosses the Flaming Lips and the Modern Lovers with Johnston's crying saw dressed as a Theremin. And you thought Oz's Scarecrow only mastered the four-string. "I know I've had my chances, but I've never taken them," Azarian admits. You've got all the chances you'll ever need or want, Ethan.