No tags :(

Share it




If the somewhat compromised attempts by a group with a questionable rock pedigree who were recording for the subsidiary of a major label managed to fall short of our approval despite having a song with a racy topic, acerbic lyrics and (at times anyway) a moderately crass delivery on the top side of this single, you might be asking yourself what the more reserved ballad attempt on this side could possibly do to warrant any interest.

Good question.

The answer, somewhat surprisingly, is that it could do enough to at least allow you to envision a scenario where this group of musical Drifters might be able to be a modestly welcome sight on the rock scene with just a little more effort.

Whether they’d be willing to bring it upon themselves to actually carry out that transformation however was no sure bet.


Take My Chances
At first blush the song seems poised to surprise you as the opening features the kind of delicate arranging touches that allow it to stand out, not just among rock ballads either. The first few notes climbing the scale, the intertwining textures and the pauses before taking the next step up are perfectly constructed and create an anticipatory vibe to the record before the lead voice comes in and nails that mood, getting you to think that maybe this was their niche after all.

If I’m The Caring Kind could keep up this ethereal ambiance for the entire song then there’s no telling what they might be capable of with a label that respects this field of music rather than dismisses it.

Instead it quickly falls apart as the lead singer steps wrong almost immediately after taking our breath away as his voice tentatively rises on the second line, specifically the word “nowhere” which suggests a thematic uncertainty that the lyrics pointedly refute. The fact is if we’re to believe what he’s telling us then the character he portrays should know exactly what his problem is, but his delivery tells another story entirely because he’s unsure of just how to convey the soulful qualities he sold so well in the introduction.

Therein lies the problem with so many acts originating in another style – and for the record we’re not sure what style that was with these guys, or who they were exactly – the things which should be second nature have to be consciously approached and you have a tendency to fall back on what worked elsewhere, yet which won’t work in rock circles.

It’s a minor slip maybe but a telling one, breaking the mood we needed to remain under for this to really pull us in. Now as a result we’re suddenly all too wary about his next move, not trusting him to keep his footing and ready to pounce should he step wrong.

That may be unfair of us but it’s hardly indefensible either. We’ve been misled by pop-based labels trying to horn in on rock’s growing slice of the commercial pie too many times to maintain a cheerful naivety where these things are concerned.

…Hit Or Miss
Sure enough as this goes on the cracks become more apparent. The sublime vocal harmonies behind the lead which marked our first sighting of the others, now reveal their incompatibility as they switch to the dreaded open-throated airy harmonies that are a respected pop music staple and the suddenly dainty piano that springs up further erodes our confidence in this record and we’re barely thirty seconds in!

But as soon as we’re ready to give up on them and urge them to throw in the towel they return to what we instinctively gravitated towards with the lead dropping back down and the others switching back to the longing harmonic sighs that were so appealing the first time around.

Yes, aside from a few minimal lyric changes – replacing “caring” with “weeping” and then altering the explanation – it’s basically the same exact thing. A de facto chorus with the I’m The Caring Kind line repeated twice and embellished by the others for a dreamy tranquil effect, but it’s just as breathtaking this time as it was before. If you’re looking for an unlikely sample for a lo-fi trip-hop loop, look no further than the ten seconds here where his vocals just ooze from the speakers in an aching, sleepy, behind the beat manner that is absolutely addicting.

The REST of the song though is for those who like to curse long-dead record producers and artists for not comprehending the difference between the parts that work and those which don’t and make you suffer needlessly for their ignorance.

The Crumbs Of Love
Much of what follows is excruciating at times… most of the time actually. Sung fairly well, but in a style that is alien to our tastes. The backing singers are the prime offenders here, decent enough when they are only required to voice sound, but brutal when asked to deliver actual words during the bridge, for not only are those words poorly written but they seem completely unable to match the sentiments with the proper feeling, a common malady in so much of mid-century pop music, let alone pop-based acts trying to convince you they’re rockers.

The lyrics are trite and painfully inappropriate for the prime rock constituency who may actually possess these internal doubts they speak of but are generally at pains to confess them publicly and risk irreparably harming their own public persona. Yet on I’m The Caring Kind they’re admitting this insecurity without the slightest bit of self-consciousness or trepidation for what it might mean to their image and as such it comes across as artificial. Surely nobody is THIS guileless, at least nobody we’d want to associate with!

The musical touches don’t add any credibility to their cause either, as the chimes remain a nice touch but since it’s the voices rather than instruments that are tasked with carrying the melody there’s nothing in the arrangement to bring some much needed weight to the record. We get a faint guitar, a few discreet piano notes, but nothing stronger. A smoky tenor sax might’ve overwhelmed the singers if one had been added but that’s a risk we’d be willing to take once we hear them butcher the ending in particularly egregious fashion.

It’s a suitable closing for such a compromised track that teases with potential before giving in to bland routine.

I Keep Hoping When Tomorrow Comes
The far too predictable analysis for this record – and one you could probably make without actually hearing it and just basing your assessment on circumstantial evidence alone – is that there was virtually no way this was going to end up satisfying anyone.

Too soulful for mainstream pop and too bland for rock fans is almost a rubber stamp verdict in cases like this where out of touch older record producers who genuinely value the attributes they’ve come to rely on over the years in pop music try and add the faintest hints of the new sounds filtering through their defenses and think that will expand their reach. When that fails to happen they instinctively blame the “new” and revert back to the old, which is why they’ll soon be out of work, or at least out of excuses when the pop charts start looking a lot different than they’re used to in a few years time.

But we know better than that. We’ve seen into the future… okay, we’re FROM the future and thus know the outcome already… and it’s the old school mentalities holding back groups and records like this.

Maybe there’s no world in which I’m The Caring Kind could’ve been a rock hit, not without a major overhaul that would virtually make it an entirely different song, but it’s not such a big leap to envision it being acceptable in rock circles had they simply accentuated the emotional reading of that vocal hook throughout the rest of the song… in different ways maybe, but these guys showed they had the raw tools to give us that, but sadly not the instincts to realize why they should.

We’ll see these Drifters one more time before they disappear and surely nobody on this planet, including those who have been completely deaf since birth, would mistake them for the more famous group by this name that will appear down the road, but had these guys not followed the path of least resistance in a major label’s studio that late July day and instead had worked to hone what they showed genuine promise on, maybe the more famous Drifters would’ve been forced to pick another name in a few years time because these guys may just have stuck around with a little luck instead of being deservedly forgotten.