Money Grows On Your Knees the new single from poet and musician Mike Tyler is a deceptive little tease, a song which left indecision during certainly its first and even second excursion through the ear but all the while was working away and laying a hook which emerged again and again well away from its source. It is an addictive little creature which though still coated in a less than stable opinion is like a tic which is almost impossible to remove from thoughts and imagination.
Taken from his well-received album Erection of last year, the first thing to note and praise about the release is its packaging. Coming in a 7” green vinyl/CD bundle with a sleeve design complete with jigsaw front and lyric sheet back, the single takes one right back to the late seventies/early eighties when sleeve design and imagination was as rife and vibrant as the sounds they enclosed. It is an instant clutch of strong points on the board for The Art Can Not Be Damaged released single. It is also very apt for the artist from New York. Mentored in a bar by the poet Delmore Schwartz, Patti Smith, and Tom Verlaine of Television, Tyler has sculpted interest, respect, and inspiration with his words within others. World famous graffiti-smith Banksy stencilled his words “only the ridiculous survive” outside Paddington Station in London whilst Beck also was inspired by his charismatic pull when honing his song writing craft. Tyler became known as The Most Dangerous Poet in America after breaking his arm during a reading, and his poem The Most Beautiful Word in the American Language has found its place on the blogs, MySpace pages, and Facebook walls of a great many, not to mention fridge doors. He is a puzzle in many ways, an intricate confusion which the packaging of the single perfectly hints to and to further give relevance of the artwork the artist talks about his single by saying “My new single is such a lopsided seductive beast. Deep deep bass with a pop frosting and a growling lead yawp. It can be kind of sweet in places and then a dungeon-door-slamming-echoed-thud takes over; a contradiction in tones. It’s the boiled pot of the gumbo stew of black and white that is America; greed and innocence, joy and exhausted hustle. Might explain why we decided the packaging of the single would include an actual puzzle.”
Money Grows on Your Knees instantly punches the air with heavy pressing beats soon joined by great expressive keys and the straight face vocals of Tyler. He is not a natural vocalist, his spoken word delivery a dulled edge to the vibrancy of the music but it soon persuades the longer the track plays with the ear. The persistence of the rhythmic seduction and equally tempting bass is near irresistible whilst the keys craft a warm engagement which holds the hand as the songs opens up its summer framed by additional vocals from a sirenesque female voice and singing from Tyler both standing behind his core gait of delivery. As one would expect the lyrics make you think without needing to spend over time evaluating their coaxing narrative whilst the brassy bellows of the synths are like small fanfares in the sultriness of the song’s skies. An encounter easily described as Jonathan Richman meets Jona Lewie whilst John Otway and Mike Doughty add their support, it has proved its dangerous contagiousness as whilst writing the review up to this point and listening to its throughout, Money Grows on Your Knees has provided a conclusive argument and won its case…or maybe just worn down the defences, whichever it is a devious little treat.
Accompanying the song on the single is Corny Song, a new track from Tyler. Energetic and mischievous the song was inspired by a show in the UK where he was promoting the Erection album. It like the first is not an instant draw and has yet to convince but again it lingers and teases long past its expiry time.
For quirky, unpolished, and honest indie/pop devilment the single is well worth a fun filled amble with, but be warned it will not be leaving you alone from that point on.
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