Back in 2013, Marshall Crenshaw embarked on an artistically creative journey. During the next two and a half years, he released six 3-track vinyl EP’s. Each record contained one new song, one cover song, and one song from his vast catalogue that he re-recorded. Now the original material and the cover songs have been combined with a live track and an early demo to form the album #392: The EP Collection.
Marshall Crenshaw has always been an underappreciated artist and for the turntable impaired, it is good to have this material available on CD for the first time.
Interestingly the six original tunes lead off the album and while they contain his sense of wry humor set to solid melodies; there is a sameness that was not apparent in the extended CD series.
The best of the new material is the poignant “Grab The Next Train” and the memorable “Driving And Dreaming” with its lyrical beauty. The cover tunes travel a more diverse journey. He resurrects the Carpenters hit “Close To You” and then rocks on the forgotten Bobby Fuller Four gem “Never To Be Forgotten.” Throw in the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Didn’t Want To Have To Do It” and you have the beginnings of a group of songs molded into his musical image.
Making its debut is a rocking live version of the Everly Brothers “Man With Money,” which Crenshaw transforms from smooth pop to a powerful cover.
For the last three plus decades, Marshall Crenshaw has issued some of the best rock music on the American music scene. While most of the music contained in #392: The EP Collection has been around for a couple of years, its release on CD will make it available to a wider audience. It may not push the boundaries of his musical vision but it is well-worth a listen.