A Review of the CD
"Einstein's Brain"
by Nathan Caswell

"Einstein's Brain"
by Nathan Caswell

Copyright 2003

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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What this is not is a scientific treatise on the brain matter of a 20th century genius. Nor is it an excerpt from Michael Paterniti's recent book "Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America With Einstein's Brain." No, this is the first music release by Nathan Caswell, and it takes quirk to the nth degree. Described as alt.folk, it is a seriously playful and playfully serious collection of songs.

Okaaaaay, you're thinking, shifting slightly, a pool of uneasiness forming in your frontal lobes.

It is near impossible to determine where Caswell is heading in his songs. While certainly not simply stream-of-consciousness verbalizations, there is still sometimes no discernible reasoning in his musical wayfaring. That, however, is countered with plenty of joyous rhyme and rewarding unpredictability. Which, depending on the listener?s nature, can be wonderfully rewarding or thoroughly frustrating.

In the opening and title cut, "Einstein's Brain,"the aforementioned is housed in a mason jar while on a road trip with Caswell. Functioning independently, it interacts with him as if a fully-realized human. At one point, after the brain falls for a waitress who is missing critically functioning synapses, the brain offers:
"love is like gravity, no one knows how it works or what it's for"
Later, Caswell sings of the brain:
"sometimes in the evening I hear him softly crying from the dresser
next to the motel bed where I'm lying
he weeps for Hiroshima, he weeps for Nagasaki, he weeps for his
unrealized dream to play professional hockey"
In "Pierre Trudeau (I Have The Technology)," Caswell sings of using bodily fluids to clone first Pierre Trudeau, then Andy Griffith, Imelda Marcos and finally Jesus Christ. With Christ, the plan is:

"I'm gonna raise him well, build kitchen cabinets, make sure he knows he;s the King of the Jews, get him a lucrative Nike sponsorship"

Caswell opens "This Town" with:
"The old model floor radio sits silent in the corner, the guy who came
to look at it said it's beyond repair
it was faithful all through Normandy and JFK and OJ but there's just so
much Britney Spears a vacuum tube can bear"
He continues:
"you could feel the hum up and down the high school hallways, crackling
with conviction of ideals and respect
there?s nothing but cold silence from the offices and boardrooms, wisdom
is no substitute for passion we reject"
Caswell began his artistry as a comedian in Canada and is now under the kaleidoscopic influence of his residency in New York City. If "Seinfeld" was still in production, Nathan Caswell would be a cinch for the tuneful role of Cosmo Kramer's never-seen father.

Caswell is assisted by Trevor Mills on electric bass guitar; Linda Saslove on harmony vocals; Peter Boyd on electric slide guitar; Matthew Pearson on drums; Ken Cade on organ; Joe Philips on acoustic double bass and Curly Boy Stubbs on acoustic guitar.

Track List:

All songs written by Nathan Caswell.

Ownership, copyright and title of this folk music CD review belongs to me, Kevin McCarthy. Ownership, copyright and title are not transferable or assignable to you or other parties regardless of how or if you or other parties use, copy, save, backup, store, retrieve, transmit, display, publish, modify or share the CD review in whole or in part. Please read the "Terms, Conditions and Disclaimer" section on my web site for additional information about using, quoting, or reprinting this CD review.

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