The new Jason Falkner, I’m Ok You’re OK has been out in Japan since April with the fleeting promise that it will be released this summer in the US. It’s quite good, though it’s no Author Unknown. Of course it’s pure Falkner (literally, I think he plays everything on it), meaning it is the long awaited follow up to Can You Still Feel?, with the pop song and hook dominating throughout. The first half of the record has a decidedly new wave feel with The Knew and NYC showing off processed guitars and Hurricane employing washes of synthesizers giving it a bit of a sheen. The second act is more in the old power pop vein of things with a decidedly 60’s production. Contact is the standout on the second half with its catchy riff and the lone song that isn’t a ballad. Slow songs are fine, but back to back to back kind of blows the momentum near the end of the album.
It seems the new wave influence on I’m OK has come from one of Falkner’s many side projects, TV Eyes. Too many ballads is definitely not a problem for TV Eyes. In case you missed it (I did), a full album was released near the end of last year in Japan (again). The group is Falkner, his old Jellyfish pal Roger Manning and former Redd Kross drummer and soundtrack compiler (music supervisor in Hollywoodspeak) Brian Reitzell. They’re totally going for it in an early 80’s, Gary Numan, Japan, Ultravox! and Depeche Mode way. It’s kind of goofy in parts, but this record is a lot of fun. Mission Submission’s synth line is Gary Numan plain and simple, and Love to Need has Falkner sounding like Jimmy Sommerville and then he turns into Howard Jones on Need to Love. These three guys got together a few years back for the pseudo soundtrack, Logan’s Sanctuary, but they were having nowhere near as much fun as they are on this album. You’ll be doing spot the 80’s euro synth group the entire way through, but it’s done in a way that isn’t making fun, but not totally serious either.
Who knows if either of these will get released outside of Japan? Big in Japan and virtually unknown everywhere else…too bad, everywhere else is missing out.