John Dufilho

John Dufilho

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Several years ago Chris Murray, former frontman for the moderately celebrated Canadian ska band King Apparatus, put out a minor classic of a solo album titled 4-Track Adventures of Venice Shoreline Chris. He had recorded it at home on a cheap four-track cassette recorder, playing drum parts on what sounded like a plastic bucket and basslines on the low strings of his acoustic guitar. Despite the rock-bottom-fi sound quality, the songs were wonderful and the album a delight. John Dufilho, of the Deathray Davies, has done something along roughly the same lines with his eponymous solo debut. The sound quality is quite a bit better than that of Murray's album, but it's still pretty rough around the edges, though that tends to work in favor of such otherwise simple and straightforward pop fare as "What Are You Waiting For?" and "When Madness Strikes Again." Dufilho is a good guitarist and keyboardist, but he's no kind of drummer, and that tends to work in the songs' favor as well -- nothing helps keep the focus on the song like a modest man behind the drum set. The problem with solo albums, of course, is that there aren't any other bandmembers around to tell you when you're barking up the wrong tree, and Dufilho does kind of miss the mark on the 19-second opus "I Can Be Nothing but Trouble" and the underwhelming "Check the Engine." It's also worth pointing out that this 29-minute album lists at about $16, which is hard not to see as something close to a minor ripoff. But if you find yourself feeling resentful, click back to "What Are You Waiting For?" or "When Madness Strikes Again" and hit repeat until the feeling goes away.

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