Tom Verlaine

Songs and Other Things

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It had been nearly a decade and a half since Tom Verlaine's last release (the instrumental Warm and Cool) when he actually dropped two albums -- Around, another collection of instrumentals, and the self-explanatory Songs and Other Things -- at the same time in 2006. He had been busy (though not too busy) playing with both Patti Smith and Television off and on, and doing a bit of production and some film scoring, but apparently hadn't felt the itch to release much of anything. Oddly enough, although the companion album (Around) is entirely instrumental, the opening track on Songs and Other Things is actually another nicely constructed instrumental that has Verlaine adopting an interesting organ-like tone on his guitar. Then it's on to the quietly menacing "Heavenly Charm" with it's thick, sludgey solo. "From Her Fingers" is loose and fun, while the simmering "Nice Actress" has just a bit of venom and a fiery guitar outro. "A Stroll" is pretty and laid-back, although the Barry White-esque intro seems a bit out of place. "The Earth Is in the Sky" is more classic-sounding Verlaine, with a majestic (but too short) guitar solo. "Shingaling" is a goofy toss-off that works something close to a New Orleans second-line rhythm, and "All Weirded Out" is a chugging rocker with some great guitar sounds. "The Day on You" is fantastic and really lets Verlaine flex his guitar muscles, while "Peace Piece" acts as an instrumental coda. It's a solid bunch of songs and probably the most varied set of his career. Granted, he hasn't been particularly prolific, but this is easily his finest work since Flash Light (nearly 20 years!) and ranks among his best. Typically cryptic and loaded with tasty guitar, Songs and Other Things is an excellent return for Tom Verlaine.

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