Review: Dw. Dunphy/Jeff Elbel/Randy Kerkman/Dan Pavelich – “Everything Goes To Hell”

For a song titled “Everything Goes To Hell,” this is pretty gleaming.

Assembling for the Co-Op an indie supergroup of sorts – bassist Jeff Elbel (Ping, Farewell to Juliet), guitarist Randy Kerkman (Yonderboy, Beki Hemingway) and keyboardist Dan Pavelich (The Bradburys, The Click Beetles) – the synthetic-minded singer-songwriter Dw. Dunphy presents a version of hell on this online-only single that’s, overall, pretty inviting. That might be appropriate, given the fact that the single raises funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. (And, no, it’s not a cover of the epic Tom Waits offering of the same name.)

“Everything goes to hell when you least expect it/ Everything falls apart when you’re lease equipped to deal with it/ Who’s gonna be a friend when everything goes straight to hell?” Dunphy laments over rousing guitars, bouncing bass scales, synth washes and prepared percussion — in other words, his familiar brand of shimmery pop. The chorus is catchy and humming-worthy but the sentiment is laced with the animation of real-world struggles – trademark Dunphy. The group backing this self-conscious front-man does admirably, with Elbel offering particularly engaging, bouncy bass notes during the verses and Kerkman, when he cuts loose during choruses, releasing shards of stadium-rock guitar.

Dunphy always has been a master of sugar-coating bitter pills and he does just that on the single, getting you, so it seems, to buy into the belief that everyone has someone there to save you when everything goes to hell. Verdict’s out on the sentiment – I’m, by nature, the pessimist in the room – but Dunphy does a valiant job delivering it, and it makes for an interesting bit of promotion for a children’s hospital.

An engaging little pop nugget – and the $1 (or more, should you choose) you pay for it on Bandcamp goes to a good cause. Win-win.


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.