Generation X didn't invent irony, but the post-Baby Boomer generation has certainly been having a love affair with it. So much ironic music has been recorded in the '90s and 2000s -- ironic retro-swing, ironic retro-disco, ironic alterna-rock bands doing ironic tributes to early hip-hop. All that irony can wear thin after awhile, especially when it's badly done. But Matt Munisteri's Love Story is ironic a good way. On this 2003 release, singer Munisteri and his band Brockmumford offer an ironic take on early swing and what is now termed classic jazz -- that is, the '20s and early '30s jazz that came after Dixieland but before the official (or unofficial) start of the Swing Era in 1935. Love Story isn't an exact replica of the jazz of that era; Munisteri has some of Dave Frishberg's wit and some of Randy Newman's world-weariness. But Munisteri, for all his modern irony, isn't mocking '20s and early '30s jazz; he obviously has a genuine affection for the jazz of that era (especially Hoagy Carmichael's work). And Munisteri, to his credit, knows how to combine irony with a healthy amount of sincerity and earnestness, which is why Love Story is as substantial as it is. Far from a mere novelty item, this CD demonstrates that Munisteri has warmth and vulnerability as well as a good sense of humor. Munisteri (who plays acoustic guitar, banjo and mandolin) provides mostly original material on Love Story, but he also puts his spin on Carmichael's "Lazy Bones" and shows us how Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" might have sounded during the Great Depression. Love Story demonstrates that Munisteri is more than a master of irony -- he's also a talented and convincing storyteller.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson