The sparse, mesmerizing Sound of Coming Down
is one of many standout tracks on Exene Cervenka's first solo album in nearly 20 years. And perhaps the song title also is a good description of this low-key effort after the more frequently, well, loud work of X, Auntie Christ and the Original Sinners.
The 14 songs, which combined clock in at a little more than sitcom-length, are filled with vignette-like passages of passion, loss, regret and humor. Five songs don't even make it to the two-minute mark, but the punk rock veteran is quite capable of drawing blood quickly on songs such as Insane Thing and Fevered Paper. The violin/viola/cello playing of Amy Farris pairs perfectly with Cervenka's poetic imagery, making her recent passing at an early age all the more depressing. As a duo, Farris and Cervenka take on the traditional The Willow Tree, the only non-original, in lovely fashion. In addition to Farris, other capable supporters include Dexter Romweber and Cindy Wasserman as well as Skeletons/Morells cohorts Lou Whitney, who recorded the album at his Springfield, Mo. studio, and Joe Terry, whose piano and organ work is a true delight, especially on the jaunty Walk Me Across the Night.
Furthermore, the title track, with its great chug-a-chug shuffle, is a song just waiting to be used in right Western movie train scene. Short but fully-realized, "Somewhere Gone" is worth making noise about.