Phil Tagliere

Slow

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Back in the early '90s, Phil Tagliere was in a promising Los Angeles rock band named Gingersol with his brother Steve. The group had its ups and downs, and the brothers went their separate ways. Steve Tagliere put out a solo album in 1999 before reconstituting Gingersol and releasing two fine discs. After laying low for a while, Phil has finally produced his solo debut, which confirms that the Taglieres are a talented musical family. As its title -- Slow -- suggests, the music here moves at a leisurely pace. Strumming an acoustic guitar, Phil Tagliere performs gentle, quietly sung songs. Initially, the disc feels too modest and demure, but Tagliere's subtly melodic music quickly proves to be quite engaging. He projects a fragile quality, much like Elliott Smith's music; however Smith typically takes his tunes into dark, depressive corners, while Tagliere lets a bit of sunlight into his melancholic bedroom folk-pop tunes. His lyrics often speak of being at the crossroads of uncertainty. He opens "AM" with the line: "it's getting to the point where it comes apart or together." That achingly introspective tune ranks along with "There's a House" and the Alex Chilton-esque "Almost Perfect" as being the disc's most memorable efforts. The vulnerability found in Tagliere's lyrics gets couched in simple but soothing melodies. Producer Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliott Smith) nicely utilizes Rick Shea's pedal steel on "Standing Dumb" and "Early," filling out the sound while adding on another layer of sorrow. Rothrock's less-is-more approach occasionally creates a feeling of sameness as the hushed-sounding record sticks to a mellow tempo. And although this disc is somewhat slight in both its arrangements and length (under 35 minutes of actual music), Tagliere's soft-spoken music definitely deserves to be heard.

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