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Issue #51 April 2003

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The Kiddie Weirdness of Twink

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Paul Weller
The DW Project
The Jack McCoys
Julie Loyd

Paul Weller

Yep Roc Records
16 song CD with DVD

If you've been coming here on a regular basis, you know that I am a big fan of Paul Weller, including his career with The Jam and The Style Council. With Illumination, Weller marks a decade of solo projects with this 6th studio release. The solo years have been hit and somewhat miss, from the pure genius of 1993's Wild Wood to the mediocre attempt at classic rock with 1997's Heavy Soul.

Illumination seems to encompass this scattered feeling all in one album, because at times it is incredible, and at others just average. Greatness appears in the form of the go-go grooves of It's Written In The Stars, which harkens back to the acid jazz of Weller's self-titled 1992 debut. It's a fun song, and it rips along with youth and optimism. This is also present in the big guitar sound of Standing Out In The Universe and a bonus track called Push Button, Automatic, which is purely Beatlesque, a goofy take-off of When I'm 64 or Maxwell's Silver Hammer. Meanwhile, things take a turn for the worse with the silly rock dredge of Call Me No 5.

MISH MASH Mandate: Shout To The Top

Paul Weller Website

The DW Project
Welcome To The Open Door

Essence Of Now Records
17 song CD

The DW Project is the brainchild of one Dan Walzer, who provides most of the instrumentation on this sprawling 17 track jazz epic. The music evolves from simple quiet atmospheres to be-bop, melding intricate rhythms and stirring melodies with ease.

The "one-man-band" approach works well with Walzer, as his passages seem to flow with unexpected precision and grace. At times, other musicians are employed, and their help only strengthens the impact of the song. This is most evident on Hybernation, where the addition of other players brings a group element into the music.

Overall, this is a beautiful piece of work, and it's certainly a marvelous showcase of the talent of Walzer.

MISH MASH Mandate: Projectile Jazz

Essence of Now Records Website

The Jack McCoys
All The Weeping Cameras

Ambiguous City Records
7 song CD

At first glance, these guys reminded me of OK Computer-era Radiohead, with swirling guitars, disjointed emotive vocals and extraneous noise. But, after a few songs the group took on a life of its own and the album seemed to shed my immediate comparisons.

The songs are catchy, yet uncommercial enough in approach to keep the pop in check. An understated dissonance is integral to the overall sound, and in turn the group seems to owe as much to a ghostly legacy of Fugazi as well as Radiohead. In the end, it's an amazing collection of modern rock songs that defy simple categorization.

MISH MASH Mandate: Radio Ga Ga

The Jack McCoys Website

Desert Center

Crescent Avenue Music
11 song CD

Man this had me fooled. The opening track, Falling Dream, starts off with a wussy, heartfelt Ben Folds Five-like piano intro, yet suddenly the song kicks into MOR rock overdrive, putting such worries immediately to rest. The rest of the album falls in line with the latter, delivering a tight guitar rock sound in the vein of The Wallflowers, Counting Crows, and the occasional nod to Elvis Costello.

Highlights include the driving Killing Time and the retro rock of Faraway. Nothing ground breaking, but it sure does cook.

MISH MASH Mandate: Won't Get Fooled Again

Felt Website

Julie Loyd
Fate Says He's Sorry

Siren Records
11 song CD

Throw in one part country, one part post-rock, and one part female angst, and you would have a good idea of what Julie Loyd is all about. Loyd has a strong voice which penetrates the mix, cutting through with more quiet power than beauty. It's not the lovliest voice you've ever heard, but it stands out and takes command from beginning to end.

The basic sound is minimal, usually only acoustic guitars and a few drums. This allows Loyd to get her message across, and it also lets her voice take center stage with few distractions. Perhaps the most interesting track on the release is an emotional and disjointed take on Bleecker Street, which Simon and Garfunkel fans would be hard pressed to recognize in Loyd's hands. It's a great cover, one that turns the song upside down and into her own.

MISH MASH Mandate: Penetrating Fate

Julie Loyd Website

© 2003 Mish Mash Music Reviews, All Rights Reserved