Tom Verlaine

Flash Light

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With this release, Tom Verlaine comes full circle to the style of his initial solo album. This great platter has an energized, mostly no-nonsense feel to it that is extremely appealing. Production is meticulous, if not normally showy as on his previous album, Cover. Flash Light is chock-full of rocking numbers of all kinds, ranging from straight-ahead, meat-and-potatoes types ("Cry Mercy, Judge" and "Say a Prayer"), to the quirkier "Bomb" and "Annie's Tellin' Me," to the walloping big beat of "A Town Called Walker," "The Funniest Thing" and "One Time at Sundown" are earnest mid-tempo selections that in places suggest Dire Straits. The "good old days" of Television and that group's lengthy guitar break sections are strongly evoked in the slow, grand number "At 4 A.M." The most unusual and striking song here is "The Scientist Writes a Letter," where the text is actually in the format of a letter, set to synthesizer-oriented music that is both intricate and changeable (suggesting the more involved arrangements from Cover). This song is touching and true, the confessions of a man who must be himself at the cost of losing contact with a loved one. Released after a three-year silence, Flash Light was well worth waiting for; this splendid album makes an excellent purchase.

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