Lightning & Thunder

Clean Songs Thru the School of Hard Knocks

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"Neil Diamond does not appear on this CD" reads a disclaimer in the liner notes of Lightning & Thunder's debut CD, but it's less a legal necessity than wishful thinking. See, Lightning, the male half of this campy husband-and-wife duo, has stretched a passing physical and vocal similarity to Diamond into a full-blown career as a "Solitary Man" imitator; here, he and Thunder take on the Diamond/Barbra Streisand duet "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (a cappella, no less) as well as chestnuts like "America (They're Coming To)" and "Forever in Blue Jeans" alongside comparably cheesy originals like "Wonderful, Beautiful (An American Love Song)," "Hold on Love and Affection," and "War Blues Boogie." To their credit, the couple shares an unerring sense of pop melodrama, and everything here is so earnest and heartfelt it's almost impossible to know what's kitsch and what isn't. Kind of like Neil Diamond himself.

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