RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Albert Bouchard – Incantation

Rating: B

Albert Bouchard is currently the drummer for the band Blue Coupe with his brother Joe as well as Alice Cooper Band founding member Dennis Dunaway.  Albert has been in several bands, including the very interesting group The Brain Surgeons.  He is most famous, however, for being the original drummer for Blue Oyster Cult

Albert was a big part of BOC, but in the early '80s he had enough and went off on his own.  While he has not been as commercially successful as he was with Blue Oyster Cult, he has lived his life on the artistic edge, creating music how he wants, when he wants and with whom he chooses.  Seeing as he is a true artist, it should come as no surprise that his latest release, Incantation, sees the drummer playing very few drums.

What's that?  The dude who drummed for Blue Oyster Cult FINALLY gets around to releasing his first solo album... like four decades late... and he's old enough to apply for Social Security... and almost all of the songs don't contain any drums?  That's right.  That's Albert!  Always doing something different and never being able to be taken at face value.  He has an ace up his sleeve, and prefers the 'trick' over the ‘treat' every October 31st. 

With Incantation, Bouchard has released ten mostly-acoustic tracks that are mostly-co-written with Kathy Vargas, a long-time friend, yet first time collaborator. Together they certainly have a vibe. It's mostly acoustic, but it's oh so Albert, meaning it has an eerie side, as well as a sharp, yet subtle edge.  Take the opening track "Ghosts."  This tune is a look back at life, seeing and feeling where you have been and seeing how it has led you to where you are now.  "Do You Believe" is another strong track and was co-written with David Roter, a man well known to BOC fans as the guy that wrote their classic song "Joan Crawford."  Each song has a personality. The lack of a full band does take away a bit from the over-all feel, yet, for this compilation, it does seem oddly right. 

The two bonus tracks are new versions of BOC classics, which will get the Cult faithful back on their feet, or knees... harder to get-up these days, unfortunately, so probably most folks will just be highly interested but remain seated!  The first, the classic "Career of Evil" from Blue Oyster Cult's classic 1974 release Secret Treaties, is done acoustically with the creepiest little acoustic refrain... it’s only a few notes, but man do they work well!  Next is one of Bouchard's best from 1977's Spectres, titled "Death Valley Nights."  The song comes across more bleak and empty without the backing band, but considering the theme, it fits very well. 

This writer would have loved to hear Al do an acoustic take on one of his most underrated tunes from the same album, called "Fireworks."  Maybe next time!  For now, check out what this creative drummer...err, acoustic guitarist/vocalist... err.. let's just call him Al.  Check out what Al is up to!


Track Listing:

Do You Believe in Me
Cry 3X
Face in Your Mirror
All Dreaming

Bonus Tracks
Career of Evil
Death Valley Nights

By Jeb Wright