Another Small Machine

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Canada's Michael Kulas is best known for being the Rosencrantz & Guildenstern of latter-day James. His vocals nearly saved the British band's injurious 1997 North American tour and the group quickly added him to their roster as a loitering backing vocalist and supplementary guitarist through a string of albums and appearances. But he had a career before fortune found him, proved moderately well by this self-produced solo LP. Kulas writes and performs nearly everything you hear, arranging songs in some pleasant crawlspace between a mellow Posies and a dulcet Oasis (the breakbeat-flavored "Anyone Else" and the acoustic strum of "The Only One," respectively), and belting out with the voice of Mike Ness or the Loud Family's Scott Miller. Still, the album lacks color or the squawk of peculiarity, be it in the surprisingly reserved vocal choices or its traditional American indie musical turbulence. Stylistically, and maybe not too surprisingly, Another Small Machine fails precisely for sounding like the work of a bit player.

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