Patrick O'Donnell

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Limbo Review

by Rick Anderson

O'Donnell is a songwriter with a bizarre personal background that includes pizza delivery, law school, a period bumming around Prague, and insurance litigation. Now his resume also includes running his own independent record label, on which he has released albums by the likes of Swell and a Czech band called Uz Jsme Doma, as well as this, his solo debut. It's an interesting piece of art punk retrospection that harks back fairly explicitly to the best part of the 1980s. His singing is relatively tuneless, though not in a bad way -- it goes nicely with the controlled aggression of the guitars, and when he bellows obscure Biblical references ("If I thought it would make her dance for me/I'd put my head on a platter"), the effect is just right. O'Donnell does tend to wear his influences on his sleeve: "Love Songs Make Me Nauseous" is either a parody of or a tribute to the Cure (it's not clear which), while "I Just Wanna Degrade You" could have been a Stooges outtake. Then there's the Joy Division cover, on which O'Donnell executes an Ian Curtis impression that is downright creepy in its accuracy. This isn't a perfect album, but it's good enough to make you wonder what's next.

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