Walter Clevenger

Full Tilt and Swing

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For some reason, Costa Mesa, CA's Walter Clevenger hasn't released an LP in the four years since 1999's Love Songs to Myself, but he remains true to the blueprint of his first three (including the cassette-only debut, 1995's PoPgOeStHeMuSiC, which was reprised and re-recorded for 1997's The Man with the X-Ray Eyes). On Full Tilt and Swing, he still sounds like Nick Lowe backed by Teenage Fanclub if the Scottish band listened more to Tom Petty than Big Star. You could easily imagine Petty crooning a track like "Supermarket Checkout Queen" or "Love Don't Mean Anything"; and like Petty, he works in a Roger McGuinn-inspired Rickenbacker ringing guitar now and then. But he also has a lot of country roots, more freely indulged in songs such as "Not Gonna Bend," which pick up at that same Buck Owens-fed place the Beatles flirted with on For Sale (aka Beatles '65). The production is way too lightweight and tidy, but the man doesn't lack for tuneful songs if you don't mind something a lot more radio-friendly, and if you pine for the days of Rockpile and their take on Fats Domino and Buddy Holly. (www.walterclevenger.com)

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