Peter Salett

Heart of Mine

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With his second album, Peter Salett discards some of the darker edges of Paintings of These Days and opts to indulge more freely his taste for bright hummable pop tunes. Melody inhabits these songs like juice in a ripened fruit, sweet and rich and constituting much of the substance of the music. On a few tracks, particularly "Am I Still in Love With You" and the irresistible "Heart of Mine," Salett draws from the breezy simplicity of late '50s and early '60s pop. Salett's clear and soft "nice guy" tenor is well suited to this genre. Songs like "Magdalene" and "Big Deal" have a more contemporary vibe, but they maintain the light and catchy tone. For balance, Salett includes a few softer numbers ("River of Light," "Hey Hands") as well as three short solo "piano interludes." Only the minor key introspection of "Where I Was" sounds like it would have fit in well in the more acidic climate of the first album. As a producer, Salett does a decent job of fleshing out his compositions into multi-instrumental arrangements, though this sort of sunny tunefulness might be well served by the glossy polished veneer afforded by big budget production. The T-Bone Burnett remix of "Heart of Mine," used in the Edward Norton film Keeping the Faith, provides an example, and at the time of the film's release it was easy to speculate that it might offer a glimpse into Salett's future. After all, it must have occurred to Norton that Keeping the Faith might do for Salett what Good Will Hunting did for another little known, soft voiced, craftsman of melodious acoustic pop tunes -- Elliott Smith.

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