Marty Willson-Piper

Art Attack

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One of the Church's signature tracks was a really lovely jangle pop number called "The Unguarded Moment." It was a great song, but it got the band publicly criticized for sounding too much like the Byrds, which, frankly, wasn't far off the mark. Credit, blame, or whatever you want to call it for that tendency goes largely to guitarist Marty Willson-Piper, whose solo albums have focused even more closely on the wispy 12-string tunefulness that made "The Unguarded Moment" such a cotton-candy delight. Art Attack is almost maddeningly precious -- the lead track, "O' Stockholm," comes in two tempos and two languages, and Willson-Piper actually pauses in the middle of "Too Round to Be Square" to recite the lyrics, just in case you need help appreciating all their zen implications -- and yet it will win you over by virtue of the incredible sweetness of its melodies. "You Whisper" opens with the sound of a ticking clock, over which an acoustic 12-string guitar then begins to play a beautifully arpeggiated chord progression. "She's King" is a simple and perfect folk-rock love song. "Evil Queen of England" is a charmingly simple-minded protest song made all the more effective by its spare arrangement of voice and-string bass. It does grow insufferable in places ("The gondolas... sometimes they sleep... and other times, they swim..."), but that's what the "skip" button is for. [The CD version of this album includes six tracks from In Reflection, Willson-Piper's solo debut.]

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