Texas-based indie label Saustex Records has put out a wildly eclectic mix of punk rock and country albums and just about everything in between over the years. So, it seems rather fitting then that they would be the label to put out the equally eclectic solo debut from San Antonio’s Harvey McLaughlin. Tabloid News is ‘70s-inspired piano jamming at it’s best, pulling in influences like “Closing Time”-era Tom Waits, Randy Newman and even the pop savviness of Paul Williams, with a hint of Leon Russell’s Southern swamp boogie woogie.
Across a baker’s dozen tracks, McLaughlin unfolds his witty, character-heavy songs that cover everything from the mystery behind a fatal hotel fire, complete with clarinet (“The Great Hihmoga Hotel Fire of 1893”) to the love of fake news (the title track). Elvis, Frankenstein and the Fiji Mermaid also make cameos throughout the album, naturally.
With “Tabloid News,” McLaughlin creates a modern day piano pop masterpiece that’s as fun as it is odd.