Some Orbits Will Never Decay
By Al Kaufman
L. Cave McCoy has had his share of moonage daydreams concerning David Bowie. McCoy, the songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and programmer behind Greymarket (which also includes drummer Michael Gargiulo) is fascinated with space, as the bird-winged space shuttle on the front cover will attest to. McCoy also certainly had a certain fascination with synth pop while growing up, perhaps to bands such as Tears for Fears, which incorporated guitars into their heavy-handed synth pop songs.
Almost half the songs on Orbits deal with space, although at different levels. “Hey, Mr. Spaceman” deals with a man who is “under pressure” and “in a freefall.” It sounds more like a song about Charlie Sheen than an actual astronaut of some type, and if it wasn’t for all the other space imagery on the CD, some could think that. But these guys are almost childlike in their fascination of all things galaxy, and the person McCoy sings of is closer to Major Tom than Mr. Sheen. The intense synth beats add to the tension.
McCoy displays his wide vocal range on “Make Sense,” but all the emphatic staccato rhythms, and-his-need-to-sing-one-syl-la-ble-at-a-time become cloying. The need to be obvious gets in the way. Sampling from NASA on the closing “Fall of Stars” seems a bit much. And sometimes all the programming just sounds a bit dated. When McCoy reaches outside the space themes and tries to deal with more earthly issues, such as love, he appears a bit clumsy. “Waterworks” has a very catchy melody and is a crowd favorite live, but complaining that his girlfriend cries too much, and expressing it by saying she is “turning on the water works again” is offsetting. There’s no compassion there, only irritation.
Greymarket, from Tampa, are at their best when they bring the guitars to the forefront, as they do on “Grinding Wheel,” which opens with thick metal guitar riffs. Mixed with some disjointed vocal samples, the song has some weight that the others lack. “Wings (Made of Steel)” also incorporates some nice guitar flourishes and shows the strongest resemblance to Tears for Fears. Like that band, sometimes it’s hard to believe that only two guys could make all that music at one time.
Greymarket plays Under the Couch at Georgia Tech on March 11.