Marc Chechik has been a respected and plucky singer, songwriter, and guitarist on the St. Louis rock and roots scene since its early ’90s salad days, on through the more precarious present. He was a founding member of the garaged Relatives, sang and played guitar in the more ambitious Waterloo, and has helped make the Undertow collective one of the most promising DIY studios and labels in the Midwest. Over the years, Chechik’s sporadic acoustic gigs have shown what a smart, subtle songwriter he could be.
When Chechik finally got down to recording his first solo album, no one knew he’d put aside all understatement and emerge as a full-fledged, back-to-the-risers rocker. On 10 And 2, Chechik casts his lot with the energy of Let It Be-era Replacements and the frayed tunefulness of Sticky Fingers-era Stones. Waterloo members Dave Melson (bass) and John Baldus (drums) push and push Chechik’s tough, electric hooks and scrappy vocals, as fellow travelers Mary Alice Wood and Steve Rauner (multi-instrumentalist for Nadine) shade in some country colors with her voice and his guitars and dobro.
The lead track, “Broken Radio”, is probably Chechik’s best song, a snapshot of youthful isolation redeemed through music. “Reservoir Tower” is his best story, an unsentimental and detailed portrait of small-town restlessness.
Over these eleven songs, Chechik’s tone veers between optimism, regret, and a bit of focused anger. But the pacing and, more importantly, the spirit is never less than hungry and full of life.