Cockeyed Ghost

Keep Yourself Amused

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This 1996 indie pop debut from the Adam Marsland-led Cockeyed Ghost deservedly garnered much critical praise and announced Marsland as a new and quite original songwriting powerhouse. While Keep Yourself Amused isn't generally considered the best Marsland disc (the group really exists as a vehicle for the singer/guitarist's very personal songwriting), there are more than enough solid tracks to warrant a strong recommendation. Supporting Marsland on the record are James Hazley on drums and Rob Cassell on bass. Both musicians keep up with the singer/guitarist's frenetic material and performances. While many have noted a Brian Wilson influence as well as other familiar pop nuances, modern pop/rockers (most notable on the Foo Fighters-esque "Keep the Sun") also seem to have affected Marsland's musical palette. But the songwriter never approaches plagiarism as he makes his own way through a sonic and lyrical landscape that's equally sincere and wild-eyed. Standout tracks include the raucous "Disappear," "Dogs That Say No," and most of the higher-energy material. When Marsland gets too wordy and self-conscious ("Married Yet"), and especially when he vocally overreaches with his warbling falsetto, things don't exactly work out. Despite these scattered moments of musical meandering, the good far outweighs the bad, making Keep Yourself Amused a solid offering.

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