I have admired the songwriting prowess of pianist and accordionist Greg Schatz since his days with his band, Schatzy. With his latest release, Amoebotics, he has taken the focus of his songs into the realm of science. The album is available on all platforms including on vinyl pressed at our own New Orleans Record Press.
On Amoebotics, Schatz’s trademark rhyming skill and inventive melodies are fully intact, while the subject matter has shifted dramatically from his slice-of-life tunes about romance and living in the city. The songs explore a modern ecosystem specific to Shatz’s idiosyncratic world view, hence the neologism of his title—a portmanteau of “amoeba” and “robotics.”
The lyrics are quite ingenious pointing to a not so distant, mostly already here future where, “machines are making machines and they don’t need me” and “I’m building a robot to take my job building robots.” The lines are exquisitely crafted.
Other songs on the album are about the human body and its relation to the natural world. “The Amoeba” is about a very dangerous bug that vexes city water systems and which made the news recently down in St. Bernard Parish. “The amoeba ate my brain, it doesn’t matter who’s to blame” is just one example of his skill with rhymes.
Throughout the musicianship is top-notch even though one cut is self-deprecating enough to have this line, “machines are making this music much better, I can’t play all these instruments and the notes like they sound on the record.” Some of the musicians playing on the album include guitarist Alex McMurray, drummer Paul Santopadre, bassist Dave Stover, drummer Doug Garrison, guitarist Dave James, and violin and saw player Dr. Sick.
Run out and get this record. The songs will stick with you and repeated listens will reward you as you digest the meaning and laugh at the intrinsic humor while marveling at Schatz’s rhyming skills.