Trevor Tanner


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The second in a set of three interconnected CDs all released on the same day (available singly and as a limited-edition box set), Bellyache is the most overtly experimental of the series. Strong influences of dance music, not present in the other two CDs, course through these songs, with their found-sound samples, fractured rhythms, and extended, loose, groove-oriented arrangements featuring by far the most prominent rhythm tracks on any of the three albums. Nearly half of the album's 13 tracks hover in the six- to- eight- minute range, including both the excellent "Broken Wheels," which recalls that 18 months or so in the late '80s when all the mopey post-Smiths U.K. indie guitar bands discovered Ecstasy and keyboards, and a rather terrible reinterpretation of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" that includes a misbegotten spoken word section. Bellyache is the weakest of the three albums, because the dance influences often sound pasted on to the songs rather than being an organic part of them, and because some of the longer songs meander too much on their way to the finish line.

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