Simple, cerebral pop is a lost art, but these 26 two-minute songs have a thinking-man's quality. They're unadorned ditties built around acoustic guitar twilling, drums and bass mixed so low you barely notice them, and keyboard flourishes. (And is that not a kazoo we hear in the background of "Mystery Song," and a recorder on "Unbeknownst?") But it's Elliott's overpronounced vocals that makes Unsolved something other than the umpteenth home-recorded demos by the unimaginative. His spare words are curious, his cadences abrupt and full of odd personality, and his bent reminds of the late '70s, when genuine eccentrics were drawn to make quirky, unusual music that was called new wave, but was really only one step removed from Dr. Demento's show -- from early Devo and Talking Heads to an army of lesser-knowns such as Tin Huey, Pere Ubu, R. Stevie Moore, Nash the Slash, Residents, Mutants, Klaus Nomi, Units, etc. (The only things they had in common were their unusual approaches and smarts.) Extra points for the folksy covers of Bunny Wailer's "Dance Rock" and Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers' classic "Sin City."
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AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid