A House

I Want Too Much

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This album opens well enough, with acoustic, guitar-driven Smiths-like music, but it's downhill almost instantly from there onwards. The problem really isn't the songs, and it certainly isn't the recording (engineer Haydn Bendall is one of the best Abbey Road has offered since Alan Parsons became a Project) and it isn't, for the most part, the musical performances. The problem, unfortunately, is lead singer Dave Couse. Couse's problem lies in the fact that, unlike Morrissey and the Smiths, who this lot resemble in terms of songs, themes, and structures ("The Patron Saint of Mediocrity" is several minutes straight out of Morrissey's scrapbook), he has a tendency to sound astonishingly like a fat sheep being hurled down a flight of stairs whenever his level of enthusiasm gets out of hand. And it happens with frightening regularity. This tendency, unleashed on the opening track, "13 Wonderful Love Songs," demolishes the proceedings so thoroughly that the listener never quite recovers from the trauma. Even if a stout listener should recover, however, more trauma awaits down the line. It's a shame, actually, because the songs do sound quite good otherwise. It's just that you cease to give a damn about them after the first couple of aural assaults.

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