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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).

Michael Zapruder
This Is A Beautiful Town (CD)

Coming out of Berkeley, CA, Michael Zapruder takes a stab at the overcrowded (and, really, rather poorly named) singer/songwriter genre with his debut cd "This Is A Beautiful Town". It really should be called "This Is A Beautiful Album" because that's exactly what it is.

It starts with the languid "Little Ship Bluebell", a delicate song nicely accented by piano and drum brushes that sets the tone for the cd. Piano and acoustic guitar are heavily featured throughout the album, and Zapruder uses them nicely, especially on the title track. Some tracks are reminiscent of Coldplay yet retain the vigor of originality, such as "Summer's Last Day", a shimmering tune that drips from your speakers like rain from your window sill.

This could all lead itself to being an 11-track piano dirge of a cd very easily, but thankfully does not. The upbeat "Oh Cho Li" is simply a classic pop song and brings back all those memories of that girl you didn't spend enough time with. "This Is What I Want" churns with a steady rhythm and nice cello accompaniment, leading into the beautiful "This Is A Sinecure" to close the album. Zapruder is a gifted lyricist, avoiding cliches and always providing an exceptionally intimate view into the song.

At a glance, it would be easy to dismiss this as John Mayer-induced, cute boy, diet pop music (Zapruder is even more handsome than the teen pin-up Mayer), but to do so would be to deny yourself one incredibly solid and entertaining CD.

- review by RP (9.19.03)        

Explorable Oriole Records
PO Box 11724
Berkeley, CA 94712

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