Before joining John Zorn's Naked City and long before leading such relatively popular bands as Zony Mash and Pig Pen, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz released several albums for the German label Dossier, of which Dinner at Eight is representative. While entirely instrumental, Horvitz' tunes tend to have a sugary sweetness that is surprisingly poppish and catchy, as though he'd taken the tasty nubbins from a Top 40 number and elaborated on them. Guitarist Elliot Sharp is on hand to leaven the proceedings with enough acerbity to counteract any saccharine quality, however, along with Chris Brown on two Sharp-designed instruments. The pieces are fairly percussive in nature, but all percussion sounds are generated electronically, utilizing the all too common drum machines that were in vogue in the mid-'80s. While Horvitz and crew do this better than most, it still lends a slightly trite quality to the sound, one that pegs the period a bit too precisely. But the thematic material, often soulfully stated by Doug Wieselman on reeds, generally rises to the forefront and makes this difficult to locate LP worth searching out. You'll find that several of the compositions tend to linger quite pleasantly in one's memory.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick