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Jazz Bands in Town
The guitars on this albumís title-track opener jump a little higher than they have on previous Clem Snide albums. It isnít that the boys are looking to attract a fresh batch of fans with a shiny new sound; rather, itís frontman Eef Barzalayís indirect, often cryptic way of getting at an idea. "End of Love," a kind of backhanded swipe at pretentiousness, sounds like an inverted Counting Crows anthem, its bright, textured weave of jagged guitar, over-the-top vocals, and plaintive keyboard subverted by sly lyrical snags in the fabric like "Are you still feeling bad/That your mother left your dad . . . guess what, your painís been done/To perfection by everyone."
Elsewhere, the disc descends into the occasional apocalyptic dream and a charmingly eccentric lullaby that refers to Isaac Newton, censored porn, and a bullfight. But Barzalay does best when his feet are planted on more familiar terrain. On "Made for TV Movie," the songwriter becomes bored with the comforts of a marriage made on the couch and looks to the tube for a drama fix. And the raggedy Tom WaitsĖinspired spoof "Something Beautiful" provides a revealing look at the frustrations of domestic life, as Barzalay delivers with perfect deadpan pitch a pair of hilariously ineffectual threats to his lover: "You make me wanna/Fold the map improperly, locked in a stall . . . Not turn the wipers on when rain starts to fall."
(Clem Snide headline next Friday, April 29, downstairs at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-EAST.)
BY IAN SANDS
Issue Date: April 22 - 28, 2005
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