Under The Radar: Rex Daisy

Another one from the pile that I haven’t played in years.

Rex Daisy was one of those bands who fell between the cracks for most people. Here’s the original review as it ran in Consumable Online almost thirteen years ago.

Here’s a band that’s been through the grist mill – signed, ignored and dropped before the record ever came out on the major label. Whether their carefree attitude stems from natural forces or the skid marks on their backs, Rex Daisy is daring you to like them.

Boasting a tasteless green and yellow package and a blue plastic interior (was there a sale on ink?), the package for the Guys And Dolls CD is saved by a clever cartoon cover. The rest of the booklet features, among other things, a goofy group photo, a collage of faces floating in a bed of flowers and a photo of a wedding – with two of the three band members in drag. But I’m a reviewer, I can get past this.

The initial slap of “Stooge”, the opener, is punchy enough with an infectious chorus, but my antennae are up – is this another Refreshments record where there’s one formula alterna-pop tune and the rest is bar band filler? Maybe so –  “Brand New Friend” (after the Eels, the second best toy piano intro I’ve heard in a while) and the older “Stuck On You” follow, and I’m not in wow mode yet.

Then it comes on like a tidal wave. “OK, Casey” is  everything a pop tune should be, great harmonies, good hooks, sing-along chorus. Bingo. Then the Gin Blossoms-ish “Changin’ Yer Mind” kicks the tempo up a notch. Merseybeat and Cheap Trick cross-pollinate with the rollicking “Bottom O’ The World” before the Byrds-like “The Last Pufferbird” (no pun), another strong track. Another favorite is the bluesy ballad “Distance” with its lonesome guitar and desperate vocal.

Ten songs would have been fine, but tacked on the end is their serious take of the “Welcome Back Kotter” theme (from the previously issued Pravda samplers) and a second version of the song 2:15, sung in Spanish for all you romantics out there. No extra charge.

I’m glad I got past the initial roadblocks and gave the disk a chance – the middle four songs are outstanding, and two or three others have grown on me as well. So forget the warning signs and dive in. For three guys trying to look goofy and out of place, there’s a good pop heart beating underneath. Besides, the Presidents of the United States of America have that Three Stooges schtick down pat.

Rex Daisynot dead, just resting” on MySpace.

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