Essentially, this says a lot about his character. Tarango is probably a pretty interesting chap. October 31, 2009 blasts off with “All About You”, a track on which Ted Leo and Jerry Lee Lewis seem to shake musical hands; Tarango’s brilliantly playful vocals shine above it all. His energy is infectious, and it continues through the following track, “Oh, Michelle”. If the album keeps down this pop-oriented indie rock path, it could be borderline annoying, but it would remain mostly positive.
By the third track, though, the album begins to slow down with an almost adult contemporary “Push On”. Pop is still the name of the game, but it becomes blended with genres such as jazz and adult contemporary. I’m confused. What happened? Beyond the first two songs, October 31, 2009 feels like a different beast altogether. There are some straight-up jazzy lounge numbers and some which Jason Mraz might have penned before he reached super-songwriter status. Halfway through the album, as one is vibing on the sexy but strangely named “Farming”, it begins to be apparent that Tarango’s personality is just about the only factor giving the tracks the oomph they need. Were it not for that, the instrumentals are generally pleasing, but pretty generic. And by the time the last three tracks roll around, I’m already done with this album. It starts off really strong and remains entertaining for the most part, but there’s definitely some material that the album would be better off without.