Marty Willson-Piper


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Is Rhyme just another solo album from Marty Willson-Piper? Yes, but what's wrong with that? Thus tender, sweet themes and vocals, ringing guitars, and the occasional dose of psychedelia are the rules of the day. Rhyme is, for the most part, a bit understated. Willson-Piper settles into the role of acoustic balladeer, throws in some bizarre, random mystical musical elements, apes medieval weirdness, and then kind of loses steam. But with Wilson-Piper and his work with the Church, it's all about atmosphere and feeling. And there's a mother lode of atmosphere and texture to be found here. "St. Germain" could easily be a Starfish outtake; it's bombastically romantic, fitted with accordions, and lyrically quite cumbersome while maintaining an epic scope. In other words, it's a perfect Marty Willson-Piper song. "Forever," Rhyme's highlight, is six minutes of beautiful, melancholic romance, hindered but somehow nearly aided by bagpipes. Other tracks see Willson-Piper treading near synth pop, Howard Jones abstraction, mimicking an unplugged Led Zeppelin, and gallivanting about like a more staid version of Robyn Hitchcock. All the while, the music is never anything less than interesting, so even when he's going down a misguided path, there's a laugh to be had if one's heartstrings aren't being tugged. Rhyme isn't anything approaching a masterpiece, but fans of the Church will find the album more than satisfactory.

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