Brendan & the Extenuating Circumstances

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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

Brendan & the Extenuating Circumstances was a side project for Brendan Milburn, a talented songwriter/keyboardist whose main musical activity in the mid-to late-'90s was playing and writing for the East Coast pop/rock group Groovelily. Valerie Vigoda, Groovelily's vocalist/violinist, found herself backing such big names as Joe Jackson and Cyndi Lauper in 1997-1998, and with Vigoda spending so much time on the road with those artists, Milburn had time to record a project of his own. Though Vigoda sings background and plays violin on a few tunes, including the bluesy "The Odometer Song" and the playful "Hey You Gorgeous Thing," her contributions to the record are minimal. It's clear that Brendan & the Extenuating Circumstances is very much Milburn's baby. Milburn handles all of the lead vocals himself, often drawing on Michael McDonald's work with the Doobie Brothers. Think of the '70s pop/rock of the Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, and Steely Dan, and you get an idea where Milburn is coming from on such inviting tracks as "When Do I Get Mine," "Making a Diamond," and the emotional "Take Away My Dreams." Though one would've hoped to see Milburn record a lot more albums with Groovelily (he and Vigoda had such a strong musical chemistry), it was nice to see him doing something memorable on his own.

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