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Township – Life Starts Tonight

Life Starts Tonight
by Kenn Staub at 28 January 2021, 6:38 AM

Vocalist Marc Pinansky considers “Life Starts Tonight” to be TOWNSHIP’s lost album. That’s because though the Boston-based band (now known as THE FAMILY TOWNSHIP) recorded the album in September 2009, it didn’t see the light of day until being released by Tee Pee Records in October 2020. “Life Starts Tonight” features TOWNSHIP’s original line-up, as guitarist Matt Smart and drummer Greg Beadle are no longer with the band; the former leaving shortly after this album was completed in fall 2009 and the later in 2010.

Per Pinansky, the arrangement, tone, and overall approach of “Life Starts Tonight” reflect Beadle’s musical sensibilities: big rock, tracked live, minimal overdubs, no ballads, no harmonies, and no acoustic guitars (if possible). And that is exactly what this album is, 34 minutes of straight ahead, stripped down, blues-based classic rock-and-roll (with occasional psychedelic and progressive elements). Beadle and John Sheeran (bass) feature prominently throughout “Life Starts Tonight,” providing funky core melodies and rhythms. When Pinansky and Smart join in with their guitars, TOWNSHIP’s sound becomes complete, settling into retro grooves predicated on abundant distortion and six string wails (no fancy guitar pyrotechnics here). Pinansky’s vocals are clear and stylistically resemble those of STEVEN TYLER’s on pre-1980s AEROSMITH albums.

The eponymous tune, “Life Starts Tonight,” leads off the album, establishing the classic rock feel that will be manifestly evident as the album progresses. The rhythm grooves, with Sheeran’s bass line setting the tone underneath as fuzzy guitars lay down the melody. “Starlight, Motor Grease, and Beer” is another rocker, distorted guitars leading into a funky, shuffling tempo that receives added emphasis with Beadle’s drumming. Bluesy undertones can be clearly heard and at times the track has almost a jammish feel.

Beadle’s drumming sets the stage for “Ancient Creatures,” another blues-inspired number, though with a somewhat psychedelic edge. The track features a rather neat multi-instrumental hook and the music takes center stage as opposed to Pinansky’s vocals. “Feel It” starts rather spare but then becomes fuller as the track progresses. Another blues-based number, the mix seems a little off as Pinansky’s vocals are obscured when the band all joins together.

The music takes on a more serious, bit heavier tone with “Garden Of Our Love.” Methodical in tenor, the guitars in “Garden Of Our Love” initially come at you in bursts. Drums follow the guitars, with the result being a bit psychedelic as the whole band gets involved. “Freight Train” sounds like seminal AEROSMITH, though the song became increasing repetitive and felt as if it went on just a little too long.

Eye of The Sun” was the only track on the album that made me think of metal. It had a pop-metal feel, particularly at the beginning, intermixed with some funked-up blues. “Through The Fog” is a somber, almost brooding track. The cymbal accents Beadle provides are a highlight that play well with the bassy tone of the number. Intermittently, however, “Through the Fog” seems to lose a bit of its coherence, meandering somewhat more than the other songs on the album.

Life Starts Tonight” seems to be the product of four guys who simply set up and said “let’s play.” Because of this, the music has a minimal, spontaneous feel; as if I was hearing TOWNSHIP perform live in s small club (an overall aesthetic I found refreshing and rather enjoyed). “Life Starts Tonight” is a solid album, a throwback whose best tracks would be right at home on LITTLE STEVEN’S UNDERGROUND GARAGE.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Life Starts Tonight
2. Starlight, Motor Grease, and Beer
3. Ancient Creatures
4. Feel It
5. Garden Of Our Love
6. Freight Train
7. Eye Of The Son
8. Through The Fog
Marc Pinansky – Vocals/Guitar
Matt Smart – Guitar/Back Vocals
John Sheeran – Bass
Greg Beadle – Drums
Record Label: Tee Pee Records


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