Wayne: Music on Plastic (TVT)

Music on Plastic contains 14 songs that can’t help but produce a laugh bubble on your lips and a dance step in your walk.

Wayne is a band that, magically, makes everything right in the world. Music on Plastic, their debut disc, contains 14 songs (one a hidden cover of Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road”) that can’t help but produce a laugh bubble on your lips and a dance step in your walk. Combining the best of modern rock, sixties folk, and alt-country, Wayne offers an intelligent and thoughtful take on the world—witty words set to a very pleasing instrumental accompaniment.

Hailing from Birmingham, the quartet includes Rodney Reaves on vocals and guitar, Michael Swann on guitar, Justin Johnson on bass, and Jon Hornsby on drums. Reaves is the songwriting genius behind the band that bears his middle name. Responsible for both words and music, he gives us such gems as the first single “Whisper”: “I’m not the pavement you’re looking for/I didn’t come with a view/And I wouldn’t trade a box of rocks for things you think are worth/enough to get a generation through.” “Letterbox” would fit neatly into that Uncle Tupelo vein—a little bit of twang, some soaring vocals, and lyrics that make you stop and think. The vibrant “Figure it Out” is so bouncy it’s almost knee-slapping, lending more of a CSN&Y feel.

Throughout Music on Plastic, the playing of the instruments is so pristine, their clarity perfectly matched by Reaves’ slightly scratchy voice, alternately strong and then slipping easily into falsetto. “Be This Way” is another catchy pop song and likely the band’s second single. But don’t let the pop sound fool you; the lyrics are deep and shimmery. On “Head Up,” probably my favorite track, Reaves gives us brain candy such as “All I have is all I need/Sounds good, until I’m on my knees.” And the fretwork on “With Regards” is just beautiful, soothing and invigorating all at once.

Truly, though, choosing just one favorite is difficult on an album this familiar, fresh, and inspiring. Music on Plastic is an album in the truest sense: were in on vinyl, you would likely wear out the grooves from overlistening. Be grateful this is the age of information and buy it on CD; play it and your heart’s content.

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