George Flotard passed at home in April of this year with his daughter at his side. While he no longer occupies a space on this temporal plane, the paternal Flotard's legacy looms large on Message To Garcia. The title comes from a short story of the same name that was recommended to Rachel by her father during the time that they lived together. Garcia is a soldier who is notable for simply doing his job, neither asking for help nor complaining for the duration. It's a work ethic that was embraced by the older Flotard and one that lives on through his daughter and the other members of Visqueen. Message To Garcia is also the first release on Local 638 Records, named for the steamfitters union that her father maintained membership in until his passing.
Tragic backstory aside, Message To Garcia is one hell of of a rocking power-pop record. It is not without it's melancholia, but fast or slow there is really not a bad song here. Few bands can claim in this day and age. During the time that Visqueen has been on blocks, you may have espied Flotard singing backing vocals on various Neko Case records and tours in recent years or perhaps fronting the ensemble that pedal steel master Jon Rauhouse put together to record his last record. Both former bosses repay the favor by appearing on Message To Garcia. Case and Flotard are a powerful combination that rivals the current Neko/Kelly Hogan musical pairing. Flotard sings like an angel throughout and while I find the vocals to be a little lush for my taste, it does nothing to diminish Message To Garcia's place as being one of the best records of 2009. Walk, don't run to Local 638 Records and pick this up stat. Those that do not like it are stone cold idiots to whom I would suggest severing your ears with something dull. But that's just me.