Bob Schneider's best work resides in A Perfect Day, even if the album and he still show no signs of peaking. Blueprinted on the lead-off cut of his major-label debut, March 2001's Lonelyland, the Austin music emperor's soft rock made its bow on "Metal and Steel," a page out of Darden Smith's studio-perfect pop. Even so, Lonelyland flies the freak flag of Schneider's locally explosive white-trash funk acts Joe Rockhead, Ugly Americans, and the Scabs. I'm Good Now sanded and finished the formula on 2004-05 Austin Music Awards Song of the Year, "Cap'n Kirk," which presaged 2009 Austin ubiquity "40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)" from Lonely Creatures. The best of A Perfect Day betters that of Lonely Creatures, itself an oft-irresistible grab bag of adult contemporary radio catnip. Like Lou Reed's "Perfect Day," Schneider's musical surety flexes a lyrical right angle exemplified in A Perfect Day's centerpiece, "Everything You Love," a perfect Cloud moment of electro vox arcing Muzak-ally into a cult refrain: "God will destroy everything you love if you live long enough." The first half of A Perfect Day, beginning with "Let the Light In," whose warm, rhythmic groove feeds the singer dream weaving some Wizard of Oz confection, is one of the best sonic confections Schneider's ever committed to tape. "Honeypot" pops as 6-foot as any Jack Johnson swell, a pure punch of bass drum ambience, plus la la la's. "Everything Is Cool," lit by David Boyle's electric keyboard and more thickened air between the bass lines, falters on the frontman's overtreated Anthony Kiedis, but "Peaches" serves up an unabashed earbuds distillation of Schneider's mainstream persona, a chameleonic mannequin stand-in for every musical guise between Beck and Gerry Rafferty. Schneider's an everyman all right. Hip-hop's jump, skip, and chant scatters "Yeah, I'll Do That" in advance of the sunny nihilism in "Everything You Love," A Perfect Day then peaking with "Penelope Cruz," a rejoinder of sorts to "Cap'n Kirk" only light-years sexier, Schneider even having the foresight to include she of the violet eyes: "I wanna make a baby with Elizabeth Taylor around 19 and 57 – '57 – 'cause my whole life seems like a waste of time." That's more or less when the bottom of the album falls out: "Funcake" should've been funnel cake, "Am I Missing Something" goes missing as a post-Michael Hutchence INXS outtake, and "Another Bad Idea" is titled accordingly. Fortunately, closer "Hand Me Back My Life" employs one of rock & roll's unfailing hiccups in a 1990s Spin Doctors/Soul Coughing taut and shimmy. Perfectly awful or perfectly genius, Bob Schneider's having another Perfect Day. (CD release: Friday, April 15, Threadgill's South)
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