Pat Burtis

Clarify

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"Clarify" is an excellent title track with solid production and a superb hook: "I know you so well, but I still can't read your mind/Why won't you clarify?" The guitars suspend over the voice and drums; it's just a perfect modern pop tune to open up this project. The three-page CD booklet has the lyrics to all 13 Pat Burtis originals in grey or black, clarifying, if you will, the small print and making it easier to read than most CD inserts. "The Archipelago of Main Street" brings things up with both jazz and country guitar lines alongside Burtis' smooth, radio-friendly vocal. It's an uplifting record with five recording studios employed, though it seems most of the production came out of Wellspring Sound, a facility west of Boston. Don't know what the allegory here is with the Archipelago islands turning up on Main Street from flooding. The first three songs all seem to be about love lost, with Paul Simon's "The Boxer" theme running through "Everything & More." Burtis has a solid grasp of hooks and lyrics, and he has a voice to deliver the goods. Accordion, lap steel, mandolin, Hammond B-3, trombone, and lots of percussive sounds swell up underneath different tunes."3,000 Miles" works, although it doesn't have the immediacy of the title track, and "Breakfast All Day" could be a hit if the sexual imagery were disguised a little better. It's too bad, because he overdoes it here with the foodstuffs on a tune with a terrific choir of voices. As with Garrin Benfield's Nowhere Is Brighter album, there's a lot of music to absorb on one single disc. "Love Catch 22" is a driving almost-hard rock song wrapping up clich├ęs in a clever way, more of the hopeful love theme which the song "Clarify" initiated. "Love Catch 22" succeeds where "Breakfast All Day" missed the mark slightly. The music floats from folk-rock to pop; "Relocation Thing" has words neatly matching the percussion and lots of guitar tension for the horn to glide over. It's an enjoyable ride from start to finish with a warm vocal on most every track. The sincerity of "All of Me" is more preferable than the frivolity of "The Shot Song" and "P.S. Thanks." Burtis gets to stretch across the length of the CD's close-to 55 minutes of music, with one of the best moments coming solo on "I Quit" where, unfortunately for the singer, it seems his love did clarify things, but he bails.

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