Patrick Cleandenim Baby Comes Home

[Ba Da Bing!; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: Motown lounge give Sinatra a pound and all that jazz gon’ come around
Others: Scott Walker, Phil Spector, Elvis Presley, David Axelrod

Someone’s always yapping at me about this concern and that importance — I get it from all angles. (It’s all very geometrical.) Mr P is constantly harping on how “music and politics” are inseparable, chasing me around the office shouting the names of corrupt CEOs and other balderdash. My mother keeps on about this new Sinatra, this Michael Buble charmer. I saw him on American Idol — he was entertaining, sure. Vegas will be good to him. Then there’s the whole indie music community, with their little pie graph slice percentage of avant-garde jazz supporters. It takes a lot of damn effort to get into that stuff. The last time I managed to get interested in it, albeit peripherally, was when Malachi Ritscher immolated himself in Chicago. Speaking of jazz, enthusiasts like Jack Kerouac, Lenny Bruce, and my high school music teacher have been telling me how great it is, how it’s the one true American art form, and Mingus and Miles-this, Parker and Coleman-that. I enjoy it, sure — the allure of heroin addiction is pretty interesting in and of itself. But I think I’m too dumb to really learn it — to know why that blow is different from this one, to recognize bop from swing, fusion, or free (not to mention improvisation, syncopation, and polyrhythms aren’t the easiest concepts to grasp). Basically, jazz is intellectual. Patrick Cleandenim is not. But he does relate to the aforementioned things, each to a varying degree.

Armed with a small orchestra and horn section, Patrick Cleandenim struts into your stereo. He swaggers, snapping his suspenders and swinging a pocket-watch. He sucks on a cigarette or the smoke of a revolver and lets loose his spacious vocals — meaning they have just the right amount of airy echo to them. We’re talking about a cool cat here — the cat’s meow, the catcall, the Cadillac, the cat in heat. Cleandenim is suave, sassy, charismatic — all cues that he shouldn’t be trusted. He found a type of music that’s yet to be truly revived. It’s “jazzy.” “Loungey,” too. He sparkles like the sweat on a glass of vermouth. He sings of Valium and cigarettes and putting poison in your cognac and caviar. Unfortunately, though, Young 23-year-old Patrick’s lyrics sometimes become, well, cheesy — the old, moldy mozzarell’. He’s Rat Pack-ish. Characters with this image always come off a bit disingenuous. Patrick Cleandenim isn’t reinventing jazz (not nearly), he’s not rivaling any of our best lounge singers (whoever they are), and he’s not technically or skillfully as endowed as an Axelrod or Scott Walker. But judging from Baby Comes Home, he can sit on plush sofas, swing from chandeliers, spin lovely ladies on ballroom floors, and hold his arms akimbo while sweet-talking bimbos. It’s fresh enough for that. C’mon, though — Patrick “Cleandenim”? This kid definitely wears slacks.

Most Read