David Mead


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This is supposed to be the album on which David Mead "moves beyond his singer/songwriter roots," but if that expansion has happened it's not immediately clear from the music. Granted, he and producer Brad Jones use some interesting sonic effects (some of them electrical, as opposed to electronic) and bring in strings and complex vocal overdubbing in several places, but Tangerine still manages to feel pretty much like the work of a talented guy with a piano and an acoustic guitar. And more power to him. Mead's is some of the most consistently attractive, melodically pleasing, and intellectually rewarding pop music around, and it would really be a shame if he "moved beyond" his most obvious strengths anytime soon. The title track is an enjoyable but ultimately rather slight instrumental with wordless vocals, and it opens the album; after that, things get more interesting quickly. On "The Trouble with Henry," the subtle beauty of the production is as important as the words and the melody; on "Reminded #1," multi-layered voices are supported only by gorgeously arranged pizzicato strings, and with "Fighting for Your Life" Mead moves completely into Beatles territory, with stunning results. "Hallelujah, I Was Wrong" is rootsy R&B and "Suddenly, a Summer Night" prominently features the theremin, which is always nice. "Sugar on the Knees" wins the Weirdest Lyrics of the Album Award, and yet it's almost impossible not to sing along. Few records this immediately attractive are still so interesting after repeated listens. Highly recommended.

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