Skip to Content

Good Luck EP

Produced by Joe Chiccarelli and X-tal
Recorded in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills, 1992-93
© 1993 Undulant Rhetoric (BMI)

J NEO MARVIN: Vocals, guitars, keyboards
MICK FREEMAN: Drums, percussion, vocals
MARK ZANANDREA: Guitars, keyboards, mandolin, secret vocals
No guests other than Mark, who technically was one at the time.


2. SMELLS LIKE SMOKE (J Neo Marvin-Allison Moseley-Jimmy Broustis-Mick Freeman)

3. GOOD SHEPHERD (J Neo Marvin)

4. CAT BOX (J Neo Marvin)

5. I KNOW THAT (Mark Zanandrea)

6. GOOD LUCK (J Neo Marvin)

AMG EXPERT REVIEW: Good Luck is mainly just a pleasant little record – X-tal’s straight-ahead pop/rock eschews any attempt at brilliance in favor of dropping out catchy melodies and consistent hooks, and there’s an unassuming appeal in this attitude. Even when the band adds a few drawling slide-guitar touches, the focus is still on pop – the melodies are moderately fresh, and even the group’s compositional falterings are made up for by their friendly pop charm. Nitsuh Abebe

[Oooooh, talk about damning with faint praise. I know Joe was attempting brilliance, at least, whether or not he succeeded. I’ll agree we weren’t presented in our best light here, though. So much for commercial breakthroughs. Best to stick to ones guns after all, maybe.]

MICK SAYS: “Let’s let the corporation ‘ave a go.”

NEO SAYS: We enter our next phase with this odd transitional item. In some ways Good Luck is our most experimental record as we experimented with a controlling producer and with other people’s ideas of how music should be recorded in the real world of professionals. Behind the cranked up muddy bass, squishy 80s drum sounds and too-loud vocals are some promising songs. 
”Stating The Obvious Again” was a response to the hate rhetoric of the 1992 elections and was widely misinterpreted as a “nice liberal” song (for which the zine Your Flesh memorably suggested we deserve to be put in a concentration camp) when it was actually a statement about defending one’s friends by any means necessary and fighting for your right to party. “Smells Like Smoke” offered a “what the fook were you expecting” comment on the LA riots over a faux-power-ballad. A really cool counterpoint vocal arrangement was nixed by the producer because “listeners can’t take in too many melody lines at once”, an idea which may surprise 50 million Sleater-Kinney fans. “Cat Box” and “Good Luck” are both favorites of mine. “I Know That” is a neat Mark Zanandrea tune in a sort of 4AD-ish vein with Allison torching it up on vocals. I got to add some nice backwards guitar to that one. So there, I do have some good memories of this session; it wasn’t all boredom and impetigo.