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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Jim Duffy
Side One (CD)

I don't normally review instrumental piano music but this was a pretty fun CD from Jim Duffy. Entitled Side One (ah, yes harken back to those times when there WERE two sides to albums), it is a mishmash of mostly energetic instrumental tunes that borrow from the last 50 years of American pop. Indeed, that was the stated concept and Duffy sure does it well.

Again, I don't know much about the genre, but it's hard to not like the Peanuts influenced tracks like "Get Up For Ray" and "For Those Who Are Leaving". Duffy has wisely assembled a barnload of competent "real" musicians (including luminaries like Dennis Diken of the Smithereens and Paul Page / Lance Doss who play with John Cale) that really fill out the tracks well.

For me, I was rather partial to the "slower" tracks like the somewhat creepy "Gentle Panic" that is bathed in tingling wurlitzer and hissing jazzy drums. The mellow 50s "slow dance" tune "Sob Story" was sort of fun as well.

This ain't no Ben Folds Five and perhaps all for the better because I found myself sort of relaxing in the absence of vocals. Sharp contrast to the punk albums we get, but a sort of nice change for today.

- review by SHORTY (8.24.05)        

Jim Duffy

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