Ed Kuepper


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Kuepper keeps 'em coming. For the second straight LP, Frontierland explores unusual ground for the former Saints (1973-1978) guitarist/legend who perfected the elegant post-punk with acoustic rock form on his eighth solo LP, 1994's Character Assassination. Far less bizarre than 1995's disconnected, incoherent, but always interesting A King in the Kindness Room, here we find Kuepper more successfully tackling mood rock. The booming bass right from the opening, "All of These Things," signals this will be Kuepper's most personally challenging LP, a non-compromising, neo-ambient, warm soundtrack-like post-punk album. There are hints of his past treasures: the ace Stax horns Kuepper mastered with the Saints, Laughing Clowns, and such '80s tracks as Rooms of the Magnificent's "Also Sprach the King of Eurodisco" make one of their most effective appearances, submerged in the throb of "The Weepin' Willow." Likewise, the mid-tempo, steel-string riffing that made a killer out of 1989's Honey Steel's Gold's "The Way I Made You Feel" lurks underneath the more spectral feel of "How Would You Plead." And new wrinkles, such as the dance beat on the closing "Poor Howard," keep an artist (and fan) interested when he's recorded 20+ studio albums already. But it's the production that fascinates, the shimmer feel that suggests Brian Eno at the controls (think Joshua Tree without the ham-fisted ego) combined with Kuepper's typically advanced songwriting. Released here on TRG, this veteran Aussie talent will still go unnoticed here, but he remains one of the most valuable, idiosyncratic rock artists of the late 20th century.

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