Stingray in the Heart
Stingray in the Heart grows on you rather quickly. Nonchalant opening “New Mom” lets a guitar riff swagger across an innocuous rhythm line—drunken trouble out for a midnight stroll—and then the album swerves into “The Wolf King,” a sure psychedelic staple had it been released thirty years ago. And just when you’re ready to settle down for fifteen more tracks of the same, Tepper’s off again for some new genre he’s just invented. Stingray in the Heart never pauses in a familiar territory: the bent vocal Dylanisms of “Tables” morph into a southern-fried face melter, followed by a kind of alien neo-soul ballad. Though Tepper is widely recognized as a sideman, his long-term affiliation with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band is most apropos to the feeling of Stingray in the Heart, which has an affection for spinning out of control then bouncing back with something even more unexpected. It might take time to fully explore to the new territory in Tepper’s album, but right now this is bachelor-pad music for the impending apocalypse.
— Antero Garcia