Communique EP (Review)
Scene Magazine, April 14-20, 1988
By Mark Holan
Transcribed by Robert Ferent
8 Cover Image


Here at the end of the 80's, it's getting increasingly difficult to tell the posers from the real artists. On the home front, band have come and gone, self destructing with the predictability of the changing seasons. it's almost like any really good musical idea is met with enough resistance that ti can't rise above the negativity that surrounds it.

But once in a great while, a group of local musicians put out a record that reaffirms one's faith in the local music scene, and such is Lucky Pierre's Communique, a five song slice of life that balances pop sensibilities with post-punk abrasiveness.

At the heart of this project is singer-songwriter Kevin McMahon, an artist whose view of the world coincides with contemporary composers like Robyn Hitchcock and Tonio K. McMahon has never sounded as close to the edge as he does on songs like the title track and "Tough," the latter of which features some manic guitar work by John Guiciardo and Denis DeVito. In the title track, McMahon sings "This will be the night/let your forcefield drop, sensors out and try to communicate."

Elsewhere on the record, McMahon & company (drummer J.D. Zima and bassist-vocalist Tom Lash) create new dimensions in musical mystery. McMahon's satirical look at psychiatry ("Analyst Says") is padded in a bed of sound courtesy of Leonard Marcel's bass work and Pat Irwin's clarinet and backing vocals. "I Need To get To Know You" is a much more spirited romp, with Trent Reznor adding a flash of saxophone to the proceedings.

But the most disarming track on Communique is the album's closing number, an introspective piece titled "Man Against the Wall." With the only backing being Zima on drums, McMahon weaves a tale of estrangement and then illumination accompanying himself on Piano.

Communique is a triumphant vinyl return for one of Cleveland's most interesting bands, and if Kevin McMahon ever loses his slightly askew view of mankind, it'll be the record-buying public's loss, too.