IT’S LITTLE SURPRISE TO FIND BOB DYLAN, LOU REED, DAVID BOWIE AND ELVIS COSTELLO PLAYING THE PART OF WOULD-BE ROLE MODELS. AFTER ALL, THERE ARE FEW ALBUMS RELEASED OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DECADES THAT DON’T FIND AT LEAST ONE OF THOSE ICONS SHARING THEIR SOUND. HOWEVER, IT’S SOMEWHAT RARE WHEN ALL THOSE INFLUENCES MESH TOGETHER OR COMPLETELY COINCIDE.
It’s not that Chuck Prophet needs any guideposts to find his way; indeed, after 30 years – five with seminal psychedelic band Green On Red, the remainder on his own – he clearly commands his own signature style. Still, there’s no denying the influences that abound here, as strung through the ricochet rhythms of “Countrified Inner City Technological Man,” the robust rocker “They Don’t Know About Me and You,” the kinetic strum of “Ford Econoline,” and the relentless tempo igniting “Felony Glamour.”
Likewise, there’s no avoiding the inevitable comparisons that pop up in practically every song, often turning Night Surfer into a game of name that nuance. Prophet can be, by turns, both snarky and sardonic, qualities the aforementioned forebears know all too well. Happily though, he himself is no slacker, especially when it comes to both sentiment and sarcasm. And in many ways, that makes him every bit their equal.