Mike Levy


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Former Sneetches leader Mike Levy took time getting around to his first solo release (with help from his ex-bandmates and a who's-who of Bay Area indie rockers); it was worth the wait. Levy has a keen ear for piano-based melodies from the Paul McCartney and Harry Nilsson schools of pop, while he evokes the tortured voice of John Lennon, among other soul brothers. Like Karl Wallinger's World Party, Levy takes cues more from Billy Preston than, say, Billy Joel, his blue-eyed soul strain strongest on the stand-out tracks "Some Days" and "Take This Child Away." The heaviest rock song, "Too Many People There," is nearly grunge-pop while "Away From My Head" merges Nilsson with pinched Lennon vocalese. Levy shows off his piano-bar keyboard style with between-track instrumentals. Someday those pieces will make a great record, but in the meantime, Levy's crispy pop leanings stand head and shoulders above other contemporary key-pounders.

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