July 30, 2008 : Plaskett drummer Marsh Takes A Solo
By Bob Mersereau

Anxiously awaiting Joel Plaskett’s follow up to the EMCA record-setting Ashtray Rocks? Don’t forget it’s a band, the Joel Plaskett Emergency, not just Joel. While the group wasn’t conquering Canada, the U.S. and Australia last year, Joel took time to help timekeeper Dave Marsh produce his first solo disc The True Love Rules (Fontana North).

While the Joel Plaskett Emergency continues to ride the wave of ‘Ashtray Rock,’ drummer Dave Marsh, centre, released his first solo disc, ‘The True Love Rules.’ It’s also the first release on Plaskett’s own label, New Scotland Records. As evidenced by his work with P.E.I.’s Two Hours Traffic, Plaskett knows how to produce great-sounding pop. With Marsh, though, he’s not guiding a youngster. Dave’s been at this for two decades, through The Superfriendz and the Emergency, and his alternative rock roots are the same as Plaskett’s. So Joel’s role here is more co-conspirator than mentor.

You do get fully formed pop gems that would fit well on any Emergency disc, including Backstreets Thread and True Love Rules. But Marsh is also keen on experimenting, so there’s the fascinating Move You Around, which features surf guitar and Eddie Cochran rockabilly, as it would have sounded on David Bowie’s Low album. Nav Com Tav is a sailor chant-meets-Disney Halloween number. The whole middle section of the disc is made up of short, quirky song ideas, each as enjoyable as the next, little chocolate miniatures that give you full flavour but not too much sugar.

Marsh doesn’t have the strongest voice, but he’s in tune and stays within his range, letting all the fine melodies shine. While there are plenty of pal guests here, including Plaskett and other Emergency and Superfriendz colleagues, Marsh has handled almost everything himself, including guitar, piano and mandolin. This makes up for the money I blew 30 years ago on Who drummer Keith Moon’s solo album Two Sides Of The Moon.